Psalm 119:29, 43, 79, 80, 95, 102
The imagery in today's gospel is at root fairly elementary: the Church is tossed in a storm, in the depths of the night, and while Peter is enthusiastic he is also weak and hesitates and fails. But Jesus saves him, quells the tempest, and permits the boat to continue towards its goal once he has gotten on board.
There is more to the story than this. This is not a thunderstorm or even a rainstorm but a windstorm, and these winds are clearly not those of the Holy Spirit. Notice that Peter's problem is not that he suddenly realizes that he should not be able to walk on water; it is rather that he becomes frightened because of the strength of these winds. And while the end of the storm is tied to Jesus climbing into the boat, Matthew does not say that Jesus rebuked the winds or anything of the sort: it is his very presence which seems to do the trick.
At a time when the Church is being tossed about, does not seem to be making much progress and even seems to be in some danger, the Lord is in fact nearby. Do we, as those responsible for the Church, dare to call upon the Lord? Are we ready to act beyond what we believe our strength to be? to continue in the face of what seems to be overwhelming danger and difficulty? Do we hesitate, forgetting our faith and our hope? It isn't hard to do so. But if Peter can find the humility to call out, the fidelity to keep on trying to serve the Lord even after his many failures, we should be able to do the same thing.
The Church belongs to Christ and he will see it through any and all
storms, but that is not the question. The real question is where
we find ourselves, or desire to find ourselves, in this situation.
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