Saturday, August 06, 2005

Winds of Galilee

Sunday's Mass Gospel reading is the passage from Matthew
where Peter says to Jesus ""Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Jesus commands him and Peter walks on the water, but loses faith and starts to sink. Jesus stretches out his hand to Peter and says, "Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Our priest in his homily made several points: One is that Peter was actually walking away from the boat when he started to sink. In other words, he was actually doing what he asked the Lord to command him to do, but still he could not believe it was really happening. Another point is that we are like Peter in that we think the Lord can not command us to do the impossible -- to be humble, to love the Other -- even as the Lord is acting in us. The third point is that Peter is weak, yet he is the Rock on which the Church is built, which tells us that our own strength is not what is going to make us holy, but rather, utter reliance on the Lord.

Father also cited St. Augustine, who said that this passage, as well as one in Luke,where Jesus is in the boat during a storm on the Lake of Galilee, are metaphors for the Church's relationship to Jesus. The storms and the water are the world. The apostles are the Church, and Jesus is right there in the midst of it, Father said.

Being part of the Church, our priest said, does not mean you don't suffer trials -- it means that Jesus is there with you, in the midst of your storms.

He also mentioned that even today in Galilee, terrifying winds blow across the lake from time to time. Father spoke of priests he knew telling him about being on the lake when the winds came and how they were terrifed.

Even today, Christ's apostles doubt that the Lord is in our midst.