Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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When the disciples saw [Jesus] walking on the sea they were terrified. …Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”
Come to me. For so many years of my life I was constantly asking the Lord to come to me.
Lord, be with me… Come to me… Assist me… Stay with me…
Blah! This wasn’t right. It was an all too insincere and devious attempt to get myself off the hook from sanctity. What a child I was! How did I ever expect to grow in holiness and sanctity if all the work, all the risks and all the burdens rested upon Him and not on me? I needed to ask the Lord for the grace and the strength to come to Him, just like St. Peter did one story night: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
Throw yourself. Like a teacher, a mentor, a coach and a Father, the Lord is demanding more from His followers. Casting the net into the sea is no longer good enough for Him. The disciples must now throw themselves from the comfort of their boat into stormy waters and begin to walk on water. To be perfectly honest with you, I find the walking on water part the least interesting part of this entire Gospel passage, at least with regards to the demands of faith. Big deal? I view walking on water as no different from skydiving, or falling off a bridge or taking wedding vows on a stormy night! O you of little faith. Hey, those who skydive have great faith in their parachute. And those who enjoy bungee jumping have a lot of faith in the bungee cord. Finally, those who have faith in each other and in God take their vows happily and unconditionally. So what’s the big deal with walking on water, especially if the Lord is standing next to you?
No, the toughest part in each one of these activities is taking that first step and jumping out. Taking a leap of faith.
Faith and happiness. This morning I read an article in the health section of the Washington Post. It was all about happiness. Of course, above the article was an ad for Viagra. I was not surprised.
The article began with some weird scenarios: “Do you remember a bad summer blockbuster you were forced to watch, or a blind date set up by your parents?” No, I don’t. I continued reading…”Do you remember the last time you were dreading something, only to have it turn out to be a pleasant surprise?” Yes! Almost all the time!
Well guess what? Experts have determined that surprises make us happy! Wow! Hey! I already knew this! What’s the big deal?
Unfortunately, the article (and researchers) never gets to the BIG DEAL! What’s the BIG DEAL? It’s faith. Faith makes life worth living because faith is constantly leading us to pleasant surprises!
It was faith in Jesus that led Peter out of the boringness of His boat and into the arms of Jesus Christ. It was the life of Christ that led Peter to take a giant leap of faith! And from this remarkable leap of faith, it led him to an incredible conclusion: “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Why are teenagers so boring? Because so many of them do what everyone expects them to do. They follow the herd. They put their head down during Mass. They don’t open their mouths during adult conversations. They don’t stand up for their faith. They don’t rock the boat. They demand more than they ever give. They only talk to their friends and about things that don’t really matter. They don’t change their bed sheets and they don’t change their clothes! How boring! The movie Animal House attempted to make college life appear exciting. Instead, it just made Jim Belushi famous. Boring.
Contrary to popular superficial culture, faith forces individuals to break the mold, to get out of America and into Africa; to work with Ebola victims; to spend entire summers eating rice and beans; to engage in controversial conversations regarding politics and ethics and religion; to go and do what no man or woman has done before: walk on water!
Now faith isn’t about doing things. It’s actually about changing things, especially people, especially oneself.
Let’s get out of our boats and into deep water. Our happiness depends on our faith. (0)
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time