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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Sunday 19th (A) in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mt 14,22-33): After He had fed the people, Jesus obliged his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowd away. And having sent the people away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. At nightfall, He was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves for the wind was against it.

At daybreak, Jesus came to them walking on the lake. When they saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear. But at once Jesus said to them, «Courage! Don't be afraid. It's me!». Peter answered, «Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you walking on the water». Jesus said to him, «Come». And Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to go to Jesus. But, in face of the strong wind, he was afraid and began to sink. So he cried out, «Lord, save me!». Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and took hold of him, saying, «Man of little faith, why did you doubt?». As they got into the boat, the wind dropped. Then those in the boat bowed down before Jesus saying, «Truly, you are the Son of God!».

«He began to sink. So he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’»

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García
(Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Peter's experience reflects situations that, more often than not, we also eventually undergo. Who has never, ever felt, at least once, that the world was crumbling around and then decided to let it all go and surrender to despair? Under these circumstances we must revive our faith and exclaim along with the psalmist: «Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation» (Psl 85:7).

For the ancient mentality, the sea was where the evil forces dwelt, the kingdom of death, threatening for all men. By “walking on the water” (cf. Mt 14:25), Jesus is telling us that through his death and resurrection He defeats the evil and death powers that threat and want to destroy us. Is it not our existence like a fragile boat, delivered to the stormy waves of the sea of life with the hope of reaching some meaningful waterside?

Peter believed to have a clear faith and a rather consistent strength, but «he began to sink» (Mt 14:30); Peter had assured Jesus he was willing to follow him till death, but his own weakness frightened him and, in the feats of Passion, he denied his Master thrice. Why does Peter sink just when he starts walking on the water? Because, instead of looking at Jesus’ face, he looks at the sea and, as of that moment, he loses his strength, his confidence in the Lord. and he just breaks down. But «Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him» (Mt 14:31) and He saved him.

After His resurrection, the Lord does not let his apostle to sink in remorse and despair, and with His generous forgiveness He restores his confidence. In the battle of life, whom do I look at the most? When I feel the weight of my sins and mistakes dragging me down, sinking me, do I allow the good Lord to stretch out His hand and save me?