April 17, 2021
by Mike Cherney
Creighton University's Physics Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 272

Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
John 6:16-21

Celebrating Easter

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The passage from the Acts of the Apostles shows responsibilities given to members of the community beyond the apostles. The verses from the Psalm reaffirm that God is deserving of our trust. In the Gospel, the apostles encounter Jesus while on a stormy sea.

I find today’s Gospel interesting in the ways that it is different from the other Gospels. In the Gospel according to Mark and in the Gospel according to Matthew, the apostles are saved from drowning in the rough seas by Jesus who walks on the water and puts an end to the stormy weather. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is in the boat with the apostles and is seemingly unconcerned about the storm; He eventually yields to their concerns and calms the waters. In today’s account of Jesus walking on the water in John’s Gospel, He sees that the apostles get safely to the other side, but he does not calm the sea. Somehow John’s version brings to mind my experience of the world in the last 12 months, a turbulent ride from which (perhaps) we are finally emerging safely on the other side.

It is interesting that in addition to a safe arrival, there is another common aspect of the 4 account. Each contains a warning to the apostles concerning their lack of faith, their hardness of heart. If I imagine myself in that boat, I find that I would have experienced the same terror as the apostles. I am not even sure that I would have expected Jesus to save us. I see my own doubts are manifest in the previous paragraph where I felt the need to include the word “perhaps.” Still, if I reflect back on the number of imprudent situations in which I found my myself in this life, I realize that I may not have had faith, but I had hope. My sense is that is what the apostles were experiencing. This is still falling short of the potential which Jesus saw in these men (and in me). My consolation is that I emerged from these precarious situations feeling blessed rather than lucky. My guess is that the apostles were in need of the Pentecost experience. I think that I can say the same thing for myself.

Part of today’s first reading identified the qualities and strengths of the men chosen to be the first deacons. Stephen, who will go on to martyrdom in the next chapter, is singled out and identified as being a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.

My prayer today expresses a desire for increased trust.

Dear Lord,
I pray for trust in you even in the midst of the storm.
We are hopefully nearing the end of a period unlike the others in our lives.
I regularly encounter conflicting narratives of the situation at hand.
I want to trust but I am nagged by doubts.
I am reminded of the apostles’ failure to trust.
I find some consolation in the faith of the early Church.
I recall the strength that the Spirit brought to that community.
I ask for love and your grace in preparation for the time of Pentecost.
I desire a heart that is open and the fortitude to live up to my potential.

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