'The Providence of God is never wanting to him who confides in God as he ought.' - St. Benedict Joseph Labre
(Gospel text: Mt 14:22-36)
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” I would like to have known Peter. He seems much like many of us. Human, faulted, weak, but also sincere, dedicated, willing to keep trying. “Salt of the earth” kind of guy, one I would see having a beer after working all day hauling in the nets, enjoying the company of his fellow workers, and able to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. And, like many of us, his faith is a work in progress.
Among all the other lessons in this story is a warning: Some situations can come upon us with all the force of an unexpected and violent storm. These storms can be so powerful that we panic and forget who Jesus is. Even when he is right there with us, we may not recognize him, because we are so caught up in everything else around us.
How can we keep this from happening?
One strategy is to get used to turning to Jesus frequently during the day, even when everything is going along just fine. As we learn how to find him in our everyday lives, we will know—almost by instinct—to look for him when the storms come.
The world tries to tell us that we are self-sufficient but when we really think about it, are we? Catastrophic events (of nature / bodily disease / or mere circumstance) show us that we exist solely by the mercy of God. That is why the Holy Spirit wants to teach us to fix our eyes on Jesus and rely on Him for everything in the here and now.
In the end, it comes down to our decision.
We can learn how to be prepared for any situation by walking with the Lord, or we can try to go it alone and be at the mercy of every storm that blows our way.
Which way sounds better to you?