Matthew 14:22-36 is a Gospel that is used as a contemplation in the Spiritual Exercises. Jesus has left the disciples and gone ahead to the other side. He was going up the mountain to take some time by himself to pray. In the evening, he walks across the sea to the disciples who are in the boat, being battered by the waves. The disciples see him and are terrified, thinking it is a ghost. They cry out in their fear but Jesus immediately calls out to them saying, take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. Peter requests to come to Jesus on the water and Jesus invites him to do so. Peter confidently takes the initial few steps but but at the first strong wind he becomes fearful, begins to sink, and Jesus reaches out and grabs his hand. They return to the boat together. Jesus asks Peter why he had so little faith and why he doubted. I think this contemplation is somewhat easy for people to visualize because we have all been there when fear overtakes us. We would like to think that we are confident, trusting and strong in faith, but we have all had those moments where we cannot get out of the boat or leapt out and took a couple of strides before sinking. We can relate to these disciples.
What struck me today was that this Gospel continues with the crowds coming in droves with great faith to touch even the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. All who touched it were healed. These people were getting out of their boats, so to speak. They believed that Jesus could heal them and their loved ones. The contrast touched me, laid out side by side. I could not help but think that we are both and all of the in between personalities. Some days, we cannot get out of the boat and other days we are able to dive into unknown waters. The person I hope to be is the one who gets out of the boat and heads towards Jesus. I want to keep moving, free from fear, towards my Beloved and at the very least touch the fringe of his garment. I think these past 20 months have been about putting one step slowly in front of the other and knowing that I must keep moving and trusting God. Staying in the boat is not an option for me.
Are you a stay in the boat or jump on the water type of person by nature?
Do you need to touch the fringe of the cloak of Christ for healing?
Walker on waters, help me to jump out of the boat please. Amen.