Weekly Gospel Reflection—10 August 2014
As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are G‑d’s Son for sure!”
The Celtic Christian way of seeing the world is one of integration. That is, there’s no division between the sacred and the secular. The so-called “secular” world — that is, the day-in-day-out routine of “normal” life — is infused with the “sacred.” If we remove the sacred, the secular world would dissolve.
I agree with this worldview. It’s changed the way I see others around me and the way I see the entire cosmos.
This worldview is known biblically as G‑d’s Realm or the “Kingdom of G‑d.” Jesus told us that he was planting this long yearned for realm during his ministry (see Mark 1.15). It was inaugurated at Jesus’ resurrection (John 20) and fully implemented and established at the fall of the Temple in 70 CE (known as the “coming age;” Matthew 12.32; Hebrews 6.5). From then until now an on into the future, G‑d’s Realm is spreading across the cosmos bringing G‑d’s future into the present.
We see in the story above that G‑d’s Realm isn’t for the so-called “super spiritual” people. It’s for everyone. But, as we also see from the story, we need help. We need others who are further down The Way to help us along.
In Celtic Christianity, this person is known as an anamchara or soul friend. It’s someone with whom we can share our lives with. Someone who walks with us, helps us see G‑d in our lives, and even guides us to correction and enlightenment.
In the story above, Jesus was walking on the water. He spoke comfort to his frightened followers that it was truly he and not a ghost. Peter, wanting to be a part of this extraordinary event, asks if he can walk on the water, too. Jesus tells him to come on.
And Peter does it.
Do we ever stop here in this story? Do we marvel at the fact that Pete actually got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus on the water?!
That, my friends, is what we’re called to do. We’re called to be Jesus in the world. That means, we’re called to do the impossible.
But we’re not called to do it alone. Too often, we do. We go about trying to expand G‑d’s Realm by ourselves. The passage today tells us we can’t do it alone. We need help. We need others, walking on the water with us, to help us when we begin sink.
I encourage you, therefore, find someone with whom you can walk on water, someone with whom you can do the impossible.
Because, my friends, we can.
We just can’t do it alone.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC
* MSG — Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.