Vol: 44, No.43 19TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR ( A) August 13 2017  
were trained to turn to the Lord who would be close to them unexpectedly. In fact, the last thing the disciples could have expected in the midst of a storm was to find their Master walking over the waters and coming to them.
When Jesus reassured the terrified disciples, “Take heart, it is I”, Peter’s reaction was impulsive: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you across the water.” He wanted Jesus to command him to do something impossible. And Jesus did bid him to do the impossible. And Peter did it. But when he saw the waves, in fright he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus saved him but also scolded him for his lack of faith. Did he not notice the mounting waves before he stepped into the water? It seems he did not. He only heard the word, “Come”, and stepped into the water. The Lord is willing to support us in doing the impossible. What we need is enough faith to step out of the security of the boat.
Like Peter, we too ask the Lord to make us do the impossible. Like, to establish peace and justice in our world, to forgive unconditionally, to witness to God’s love in the world… But experience tells us that these are practically impossible things to do. By accepting to be disciples of Jesus we say we are willing and even anxious to do the impossible. Peter did not walk on water by his own power. So we too will succeed to do the impossible with the power of the Master.
Peter’s request was: “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” As the renowned preacher, Fr Bill Grimm, beautifully puts it, If Jesus is the Lord, the presence of God among us, then we, like Peter, should clamour to do the impossible. Does the world seethe with resentment and bitterness? Command me to forgive. Does the world suffer injustice? Command me to be a peace-maker. Does the world stagger under the weight of hopelessness? Command me to preach the Gospel. All I need is confidence that Jesus is the Son of God.
Matthew’s narration of this miracle is suggestive of the Easter apparitions. “Take heart, It is I, Have no fear…” is a typical assurance of the risen Lord to dispel fear. Again, Peter addresses Jesus with the Paschal title “Lord”. And the disciples in the boat “worship” him, repeating the words of the centurion at the foot of the cross, “Truly you are the Son of God”. The passage, in effect, becomes an apparition of the Risen Lord to the apostles and to the early Church, beset with difficulties and equipped with little faith.
But what is amazing is not so much that the Lord walked on water or he calmed the storm with a word. After all he had total control over the powers of nature. What should fill us with awe and delight is the fact that the Lord came to the aid of his disciples in their time of peril. He ever comes to us whenever we find ourselves in trouble. So the big miracle is not that he walked on water, but that he is already with us in our boat. For the disciples then, the physical presence of the Lord was necessary to calm the storm. They didn’t have Christ with them yet, unless he was physically present with them. But for us today, the Spirit of the Lord is ever with us. He is in our boat travelling with us all through our journey. Do not be afraid! Have no fear of the storms of life.
With this Gospel story Evangelist Matthew intended to encourage the Church to trust in the power of God. The merciful help and intervention of the Risen Christ are indispensable in order to save this community in crisis, represented also by its spokesman, Peter, who risks drowning when left to his own strength. When our faith in the Lord wavers we begin to sink in the sea of life. But as we cry out for help he is there to offer us his hand and keep us from drowning. That outstretched hand offered to Peter, will be salvation not only for him but also for us.
– Fr (Dr) Joseph Thenasseril SSP
August 2017 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 3
14 Mon (R) St Maximilian Mary Kolbe Deut 10:12-22/ Ps 147:12-15, 19-20/ Mt 17:22-27
(Day of Obligation) (Special Mass) (Leaflet provided)
16 Wed (G) St Stephen of Hungary Deut 34:1-12/ Ps 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17/ Mt 18:15-20
17 Thu (G) Josh 3:7-10-11, 13-17/ Ps 114:1-6/ Mt 18:21–19:1
18 Fri (G) Josh 24:1-13/ Ps 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22, 24/ Mt 19:3-12
18 Sat (G) St John Eudes Josh 24:14-29/ Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11/ Mt 19:13-15
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