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NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS

Father Francis's picture
Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jer. 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22 & Mt. 14:22-36

Nothing can save the Israelites. God admits this in today's first reading. Their sins of disobedience and unfaithfulness have caused them injuries beyond healing and they have no one to plead their cause. Yet as desperate as the situation is, God remains committed to His Covenant with Israel and determines not to abandon them.

He promises that He Himself will save them and bring them back to Himself. In the midst of their self-imposed exile and self-inflicted suffering, God will come to restore and heal. Even though this prophecy is more than 2,500 years old, it proclaims a truth that is never outdated - God's desire to restore His people has not changed.

This is why He went so far as to send His own Son to die for us on the Cross so that we can be made new. And through Christ He has provided the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for us to be healed every time we hurt ourselves through sin. Now, as always, our Father delights in rescuing us and pouring love upon us!

What a descriptive Gospel Matthew provides for us today as he takes us along with him on a remarkable journey. These men were seasoned fishermen whom you would imagine had experienced many storms. But that particular storm must have been a fierce one and they were afraid. The last thing they would have expected to witness at that moment is what happened: Jesus walked towards them on the water! They were terrified. What frightened them more than the storm was the ghost they thought they were seeing. Immediately Jesus calmed their fears, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.”

We are not surprised that Peter, the impetuous one, had to speak first. He challenged what he saw, “Lord, if it is You, tell me to come to You across the water.” Our Lord invited him and Peter began to do something he would never have imagined, walking on the sea in the midst of a fierce storm. But it all went horribly wrong as he took fright and began to sink. His mistake was that he looked and concentrated on the cutting wind and turbulent waves. He took his eyes off Jesus. Peter had stepped out in faith and if he had kept his mind and eyes on Jesus, and forgotten about the high winds and deep sea, he would have walked the distance with ease.

How often in our lives, like Peter, have stepped out in faith in precarious situations when suddenly we have taken our eyes off Jesus, become frightened, and cried out in prayer Iike Peter, “Lord, save me”? Like Peter we can expect Jesus to stretch out His hand and lift us in the middle of the storm and calm not only the storm around us, but more importantly, the fears and the storm raging within us at the very moment we were on the verge of perishing. Whether on water or dry land, strong faith enables us to move towards Jesus unfalteringly.

Lord Jesus, may we like Peter step out in faith under any conditions, but may we never take our eyes off You.

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