August 8, 2023
Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“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.” Matthew 14:27–29
Peter and the other disciples were frightened. They were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, the wind was strong, and the waves were crashing. This scene took place “during the fourth watch of the night,” which meant the time was early in the morning, between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m., when it was still dark. Jesus had been alone on a mountain praying during that night and now came walking on the water toward the disciples. When they saw our Lord, they cried out, “It is a ghost!” But then Jesus spoke the words quoted above to them, calming them and calling them to courage and trust.
Imagine yourself being with the disciples as Jesus approached. How would you react? Would you, too, be filled with fear? Perhaps it is best to answer that question from two perspectives. One is from the perspective of our fallen human nature. The other comes from the perspective of Truth. First, from the perspective of our fallen human nature, there are many things in this life that tempt us to fear. Therefore, this Gospel passage should be seen as a prophetic action of our Lord by which He tells you that He wants to come to you and meet you in your fears. What is it that gives you the most fear in your life right now? Oftentimes fear has to do with the future and the unknown. What if this or that were to happen? Fear ultimately results from a lack of faith in God and His protective care.
The second perspective from which we might see this passage is that of the full Truth. The truth is that the disciples not only had no need to fear, they actually had every reason to rejoice and be at peace. While on that boat, in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the night, during strong winds, it was God Himself, the Great I AM, Who was coming to protect them, care for them, and lead them safely to shore. Jesus’ “it is I” could actually be translated more literally “I AM” in reference to Jesus’ divinity.
The last word in the passage quoted above is what Jesus speaks to all of us when we fall into fear and worry. Jesus says, “Come.” This word is a command and is a word spoken to you. It’s a good word to prayerfully meditate upon and hear spoken to you during every struggle and fear you endure.
Reflect, today, upon this Gospel passage and try to insert yourself into it. See the waves, wind, and darkness as symbols of whatever it is that troubles you the most. As you do, close your eyes and see Jesus, the Great I AM, coming to you. Gaze at Him and hear Him tell you to trust Him. Hear Him say to you, “Come.” Peter initially trusted and began to walk on water when he came to Jesus, but he quickly allowed his fear to set in and took his eyes off Jesus. As soon as he did, he began to sink. Turn your eyes to Jesus, keep them firmly fixed on Him, ignore the temptations in life that lead you to fear, and trust in God. He commands you to do so out of love.
My saving Lord, You are God, the Great I AM, the Creator, Ruler and King of all. You and You alone are worthy of all my trust, dear Lord. When I struggle in life and allow fear to overwhelm me, please call to me and give me the wisdom and courage I need to fix my eyes firmly upon You and to come to You without faltering. Jesus, I trust in You.