Gospel Reflection - Sunday Week 19A -2020:
Jesus is walking on water (Extraordinary!) Peter calls to Jesus: “Let us come to You across the water.” Jesus responds: “Come.” Peter has complete faith in Jesus. Just one word from Jesus, Peter has the faith to step out onto the water and walk. Peter had no doubts. So, with extraordinary faith Peter makes his first step and then continues to walk – so great is Peter’s faith in Jesus.
Peter walked on water – what faith! But Peter could not keep up that faith for very long. As soon as he felt an increase in the wind, he took fright and began to sink. The reaction of Jesus to Peter is surprising, we would expect Jesus to be sympathetic to Peter. Surely Jesus would not expect Peter to continue to walk on water – especially in a storm but Jesus rebuked Peter: “You of little faith.” “Why do you doubt?”
Jesus does expect us to walk on water, even in a storm. No matter how heavy our cross or how deep our pain, Jesus expects us to have perfect faith in Him.
Remember the story of the centurion? Jesus praised the centurion for his faith. The centurion asked Jesus to heal his dying servant: “I am not worthy to have you under my roof, just say the word and my servant will be healed.” The centurion believed that if Jesus said just the word his servant would be healed. The centurion was also saying that Jesus did not need to go to his servant – Jesus, could heal him from here (about a day’s journey away from the centurion’s house). Jesus responded: “Not in all Israel have I found so much faith.” What Jesus wants so badly is for them to have ‘perfect’ faith in Him, the faith of the centurion.
Perhaps the most radical statement on faith that Jesus makes is: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there and it would move.’”(Mt 17:19,20). There have been examples where prayer have moved a mountain. One occurred in Egypt in the tenth century. The Catholic Bishop showed the Muslim Caliph this quote from the Bible. The Muslim said if you can move a mountain, we Muslim will leave you in peace and not kill you, as planned. The Church gathered around a mountain in prayer. Our Blessed Mother appeared to them to encourage them. The mountain moved above the ground (the sunlight from the other side could be seen under it). That is why the Church in Egypt survived the Muslim invasions.
We have mountains in our lives. Jesus says to us that no matter how big our mountain or pain, if we have faith in Him you can say to the mountain: “Move from here to there, and it will move.”
The twelve apostles had extraordinary faith in Jesus. At the Last Supper, for example, Jesus held up bread, saying: “This is My Body!” and on these four words the apostles knew that the Bread was Jesus Himself – even though all the senses: sight, touch, taste, told them that it was only bread. The fact that the apostles believed this, is certain, because the writings of St Polycarp and St Ignatius of Antioch, both disciples of the Apostle St John, state this belief very clearly and strongly.
Therefore, if we lack faith in Him, if there is a mountain or storms in our life that disturb us or give us anxiety, fear or doubt, then Jesus would rebuke you and say, “You of little faith, why do you doubt?”