3RD AUGUST 2021
TAKE HEART, IT IS I ; HAVE NO FEAR.
Today's Gospel passage recognizes the power of fear in our lives but in a greater way it also recognizes the power of promise in our lives.
Does Peter nearly drown because he takes his eyes off of Jesus or he nearly drowns because he grows afraid? We hear in today's Gospel passage that when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, " Lord, save me. "
From those words it is vividly clear that Peter nearly drowned not because he took his eyes off Jesus but because he saw the wind. Is Peter justified in having fear? To answer this question correctly, let us look at the conditions that surround him : the boat is very far from the land, beaten by the waves and the wind was against them while they were in the sea.
With such conditions, who would not be afraid of being in the sea?
Peter is perfectly justified to be afraid because sometimes what is too common to us may be our source and cause of fear. By saying so, do not forget that Peter was familiar with the sea because he was a fisherman.Think of a teacher or student familiar with a learning centre,or a security agent familiar with risky sorroundings or a doctor familiar with a hospital yet such places may be sorrounded by what causes fear.
If Peter was perfectly justified to be afraid, what about us? Think about a disease that you have and it goes into remission, won't you fear it returning? Don't you fear about the stability of a fragile relationship or being declared redundant at your workplace or loneliness after a loss or failure at what you are engaged in? The list is endless and we have good reasons to be afraid.
Looking at how Peter was afraid, we will notice that fear is incapacitates. It sneaks up on us unannounced, paralyzes us and makes it difficult to move forward at all with confidence. It robs us of the courage and abundant life that God intends for us.
When Jesus tells Peter, " O you of little faith, why did you doubt? " let us not take it as a rebuke that Peter doubted Jesus' abilities or call or promise but let us take it as a lament that Peter doubted himself , fear had clouded his ability to see things as they are.
After having seen what fear can do to us, the word of God invites us to the promise that God will never give up on us, that God is with us and for us.
When the disciples are terrified, Jesus tells them, " take heart, " and when Peter cries out to be saved, Jesus reaches out and grabs him to make open, the fact that, the future is open for us to continue practicing our faith and discipleship and take our stand courageously and do what needs to be done even when we are afraid.
The promise of Jesus to the disciples move beyond his words for when it is still dark, that is the time Jesus makes his appearance and in the midst of this crisis in the sea, when their energy reserves are depleted, Jesus reveals himself to them.
This Gospel passage is meant to reveal who Jesus is, but in the revelation do not forget it has happened in the midst of a turbulent sea.
Are there chaotic moments in your journey of faith and in your life in which you can recall being encumbered by fear but God showed up and told you, " Take heart, it is I ; have no fear. "