19 Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 9, 2020
There is an old adage that has been reframed in many different ways. No one seems to know who was the first to put the obvious into words. It has definitely “resurfaced,” so to speak, over the past few months, appearing on every form of social media. And it seems to be a very appropriate portal through which to enter this Sunday’s Gospel.
An entire sea of water cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside a ship!
We know exactly what was going on with the other passengers in the boat. They were already unnerved by the heavy weather. The most experienced of sailors becomes a little less relaxed and a little more alert when wind and waves start to “toss the boat about.” At a minimum, the challenges of nature caused them to be more watchful…more attentive to their surroundings. And what they observed was the supernatural…Jesus walking on water. Already in a state of agitation, their eyes as well as their faith failed them. They did not recognize the Lord and they were terrified.
We know what got into the others…FEAR…but with The Lord’s calming words…
IT IS I…
they appear to have overcome their fears.
Not so with Peter, however. He literally sank. So, the question of the day seems to be: Just exactly what got into Peter?
Throughout the New Testament, Peter’s eagerness to react to a situation before thinking it through proved to be problematic. With all due respect, he seemed to be a bit of a “show off.” Although it is not clear just exactly what motivated him… pride, arrogance, excess self-confidence, the need to prove himself…or possibly just the eagerness to please Jesus, Peter’s spontaneity frequently proved his undoing. This is not the only time his impulsivity left him with that “sinking feeling.”
So just what was it that got into Peter that night that caused him to sink?
Although a simple fisherman from Galilee, Peter was certainly a complicated character. And he was someone that everyone can identify with. We all struggle with a mixture of feelings and emotions. Our success or failure in facing the challenges which life brings is often determined by our motivation. What causes us to act, or react, in a certain way often determines whether we sink or swim.
All three Readings work together to teach us how to stay calm and afloat, even in the wildest of storms. On this 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, during a year that has proven to be anything but “ordinary,” the obvious has been put into Words…The Words of The Lord. The message is clear and uncomplicated. God is always with us.
During those times when we feel most vulnerable, it is especially important to recognize God’s presence. The most deafening of storms will not drown out the Lord’s gentle whisper:
IT IS I…DO NOT BE AFRAID!
So, in light of today’s Readings, it might be good for us to once again reframe that old adage.
An entire sea of water cannot sink a ship…but doubt can!
In the coming week, keep your eyes on Christ…and keep walking towards the calm waters that await those who hear and respond to Jesus’s simple invitation…