AUGUST 13, 2023

A most strange gospel story – Jesus walks on the water.
It’s the type of gospel that suits a decision time, challenging us into deep trust – an invitation to come to the water; not to be afraid.
It’s about trusting in Jesus, when there is nothing else.
If you have human help, it’s great – but not the same as trusting in God.

In time of death, the call is to trust in God’s promise, because he is the way and the truth. Old age can be the same, or times in life when we just don’t know what the future will hold. It sounds unusual, but what Jesus does in this situation is very human. He doesn’t lecture or say a prayer, he just holds hands. Someone was given a book on bereavement after a family death – he said he needed a hand to be held, or his tears to be heard. That’s Je­sus. He held Peter. Our God is a God with skin, with a human heart, who leaves big ideas behind when we are in trouble. Jesus just went across the lake, stopping his comfortable prayer.

There are times when we just need to hold on to God in trust. On another occasion Peter would jump into the lake again – after the resurrection. Always a water man! Then he would be asked not just to hold a hand, but to be the hand that would reach out to others. Peter was prepared for his mission in many ways. As Pope Francis says, ‘When the Lord wants to give us a mission, wants to give us a task, He prepares us. He prepares us to do it well’ (June 2014).

Remember a time when all you seemed to have was God; thank him.
Or recall when all you needed was God; ask him now for help.
Lord, in you I put my trust.

Fr Donal Neary, S.J