August 2, 2016
by Kimberly Grassmeyer
Creighton University's Residence Life Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 408

Jeremiah 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22
Psalm 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23
Matthew 14:22-36
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Today’s Gospel lesson, in which Peter challenges Jesus to prove his presence by making it possible for Peter to “come to (you) on the water,” is for me a reminder of my humanness. 

First, the disciples in the boat who have witnessed any number of Christ’s miracles, doubt that he could be walking toward them through the storm, on the water.  They were terrified and suspected a ghost.  How often we question the goodness in our lives and the very existence of God, despite the infinite tangible examples of God’s presence and God’s gifts?  Two thousand years later, even as faithful humans, we still sometimes question and “cry out in fear”. 

Second, after the reassuring words of Jesus to “take courage… do not be afraid,” Peter still asks Jesus to demonstrate that he is indeed real and standing on the water by making it possible for Peter to likewise walk on the water to Jesus.  In a gentle directive, Jesus says quite simply, “Come.”  That invitation is open to each of us, every day, every moment and yet, even as faithful humans, we still sometimes turn in the opposite direction.

Third, after Peter leaves the boat and walks a few steps on the water, he becomes frightened, loses faith, and begins to sink.  Oh, I so fondly remember my father’s eyes and voice when he first taught me to ride my bicycle.  ‘You can do it, sweetheart…  I’m right here…  I won’t let you fall.’  And then, removing his hand from my seat, I could pedal a short way until I realized he was no longer holding on to me so I’d jump off or cry for help.  Of course, my father wasn’t Jesus and couldn’t keep me upright forever; happily I quickly learned to balance myself and eventually to ride long distances!  But Jesus could easily have kept Peter on the water.  It was Peter, human Peter, who doubted and feared, so began to sink. 

Finally, I was struck by the irony that when Peter’s doubt caused him to begin to sink, he suddenly felt perfectly confident that Jesus was before him, and could save him.  How often do we make human decisions based in our human failings only to then ask to be  “saved” from ourselves?  (if we have humility, we will also ask forgiveness!).  When we allow ourselves to be guided by our faith, to ask God for his will to be done, then have the patience and grace to allow that will to unfold, we are rewarded richly.  When we don’t, the Lord saves us anyway. 

“O you of little faith, why (do) you doubt?”  For today, this human will exercise trust.  I pray that trust for you as well.     

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