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NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS

Father Francis's picture
Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Num. 12:12:1-13 & Mt. 14:22-36

Were Aaron and Miriam jealous of Moses when they said, “Has the Lord spoken to Moses only?”

In this incident a virtue of Moses is mentioned – “Now Moses was the most humble of men, the humblest man on Earth” – it is those words of God that have increased my devotion to Moses.

Their attitude prompted God, in the presence of Moses, to indicate the special relationship He had with him. Usually when He speaks to any prophet it is through a vision or a dream, but when He spoke to Moses it was on a face to face basis. And because they should not have spoken against His servant Moses, God reprimanded them and punished Miriam by turning her into a leper. Aaron was so hurt and repentant of their folly that he pleaded with Moses to intercede on their behalf for a cure. Immediately, Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please hear her, I beg You!” indicating that there was no hint of revenge in him.

Despite being seasoned fishermen the Apostles, in today's Gospel, have to cope with a storm. And it must have been a fierce one for they were afraid. The last thing they expected at that moment was to see Jesus walking on the water. What frightened them more than the storm was the ghost they thought they were seeing. Immediately, Jesus calmed their fears and said, “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 – he walked on the sea in the midst of a fierce storm until it went horribly wrong because 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 towards Jesus with ease.

How often in our lives have we, like Peter, stepped out in faith in precarious situations, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, but suddenly have taken our eyes off Him, become frightened, and cried out in prayer 'Lord, save me'? Like Peter we can expect Jesus to stretch out His hand and lift us from danger, and calm not only the storm around us but, more importantly, the fears and the storm within us at the very moment we were on the verge of perishing. What we must be aware of is that a strong faith in Jesus enables us to move unfalteringly towards Him.

Lord Jesus, whenever we step out in faith under perilous conditions, may we never take our eyes off You because we will surely become afraid, and fail in our good intentions.

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