From the Pastor – August 13, 2017

Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.”  Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:28-31)

There are three things about the above encounter between Jesus and Peter from today’s Gospel that should make us think.  First, there is the command of Jesus; second, there is the fear of Peter; and, third, there is the reaction of Jesus to Peter’s lack of faith.

First, we have to recognize that Jesus “commands” Peter to go across the water.  If Jesus gives us a command, then He certainly will give us the grace to fulfill it.  This happens in our vocations, and in our lives. “What God has joined, men must not divide,” is the command that Jesus gives to married couples.  And the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage gives married persons sufficient strength to live permanency, fidelity and openness to God’s gift of children in marriage.  But it’s also the command of Christian discipleship:  “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.”  If Jesus gives the command, you can bet He’ll help us do it.

Second, Peter becomes frightened and looks at the wind and waves rather than Jesus.  If we start spending more time looking at the terrors of this world (especially sin and death), we will take our eyes off of Jesus.  And that’s when we fail, or fall.

Third, when we start to fail or fall, we need to say what Peter does: “Lord, save me!”  And thankfully, that’s when Jesus will stretch out His hand and save us.

There’s probably no greater indicator of the need for the Sacrament of Penance in any of the other miracles of Jesus.  He has already commanded us.  God did so in the Ten Commandments, and Jesus made them more understandable by compiling them into one commandment to love God and neighbor.  But when we feel insecure or scared or threatened or tired or lazy or inclined to sin, then we take our eyes off of the Lord who called us to be Christians.  And we fall into water or dirt or worse.  And that’s when we have to remember what Peter did.  He called on the Lord to save him.  We should place ourselves in front of the Lord each day and say the same thing.  And He will tell us, “Why did you doubt?  I love you.  Go receive forgiveness for your sins, and you will be saved.” Confessions are in the church at 3:00pm on Saturday and 9:30am on Sunday.  Or whenever you need to be saved from sin.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty