Saturday, 08 August 2020 12:14

Touched by God

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19OTAWeb374Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

When evening came he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord’, he said, ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come,’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’ (Matthew 14:22-33)

Trust is an essential element in the formation of our faith and in any relationship we have with others. This section of St Matthew’s Gospel is about the Kingdom of God being seen in the Church when human needs are responded to with the life of God.

Jesus is forming the faith of the disciples and helping them to understand that they can do great and unexpected things if they allow the grace of God to work in them. For that to happen, the disciples must have faith in Christ. They must learn to sense the presence of God within themselves just as Elijah learnt to recognise the presence of God in the gentle breeze. Jesus and Elijah remain in communion with God through moments of solitary prayer.

St Matthew uses the story of Jesus approaching the disciples across the water to illustrate the confidence and trust the disciple needs to have in Christ. The story also shows how fear can erode faith and shake confidence.

For the people in Matthew’s community this story was a call to faith, trust, courage and boldness in the midst of hostile forces - the things that make us afraid to live our lives fully as Christians with all their joys and sorrows - because we do not trust God completely.  Peter’s actions in the story are a mixture of impulsive love and faith weakened by doubt. Peter and the others see clearly for the first time exactly who Jesus is.

Join us in celebrating at home this Sunday using the links below:

Celebrating At Home for 19 Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF   
Celebrating At Home for 19 Sunday in Ordinary Time iPhone & iPad

Lectio Divina for 19 Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF   
Lectio Divina for 19 Sunday in Ordinary Time iPhone iPad

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