Cycle A 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs. 19:9, 11-13; Rom. 9:1-5; Mt. 14:22-33

Dear brothers and sisters

Today, we reflect upon the powerful passage from the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus walks on water and Peter steps out of the boat to join Him. This story is a profound lesson about faith, trust, and the challenges that often test our unwavering belief in God.

Imagine the scene: a stormy night, waves crashing, and a figure walking on the sea. The disciples, already fearing for their lives, mistake Jesus for a ghost. Yet, Jesus speaks to them, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."  St. Peter started walking on the water towards Jesus, but he became frightened and began to sink. Consequently, he called out to Jesus, "Lord, save me!" [Mt. 14:30] When we are pressed with problems our immediate response is: "Lord, save me!"

Elijah, fearing for his life, called upon the Lord to save him. The Israelite, while they too wanted to be saved, they rejected Jesus and the only Mediator between God and man. And Peter, fearing for his life during a moment of human weakness, he too called upon the Lord to save him. They all called upon the Lord to save them.

Our forefathers called upon the Lord to save them. Our grandparents called upon the Lord to save them. Our parents called upon the Lord to save them. And most of us will call upon the Lord to save us if we have not done so as of yet.

The faith displayed by Peter in this story is both inspiring and cautionary. Peter's request to step onto the water is a testament to his trust in Jesus' command. And as he steps out, he defies the laws of nature, walking toward his Lord. But as the wind howls and the waves rise, Peter's gaze shifts from Jesus to the challenges around him. Fear grips him, and he begins to sink.

This moment resonates with our own faith journeys. Like Peter, we often feel the winds of doubt and fear in the face of life's trials. In the depths of life's darkest moments, there is a reassuring truth: even amidst the shadows, there is a hand reaching out to catch us and guide us safely.

Consider the story of a nurse working on the frontlines during the height of a global pandemic. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, she tirelessly cared for the sick, putting her own safety at risk. Despite the exhaustion and fear, she pressed forward, driven by a deep sense of duty and compassion. In her journey, we witness a hand reaching out—a hand of strength and purpose—that guided her through the darkest of times.

Think also of the parents who, facing financial hardships, trusts in the promise of a better future. With unwavering determination, they make sacrifices to provide for their children, nurturing them with love and hope. In their struggle, we see a hand reaching out—a hand of resilience and courage—that catches them when they stumble and helps them rise again.

In recent times, we've witnessed communities coming together to support one another in times of crisis. Neighbours helping neighbours, strangers offering kindness to those in need, your communities helping people in need —these actions remind us that even in the midst of adversity, there is a hand reaching out—a hand of unity and compassion—that bridges the gaps of fear and uncertainty.

Yet, it's not just in the heroic tales that we find this guiding hand. It's in the small moments, the whispers of encouragement from a friend, the unexpected opportunities that emerge from setbacks, and the quiet moments of solace during times of grief. It's the light that flickers even when the night seems darkest.

The Bible is replete with examples of faith-filled individuals who triumphed over adversity. Abraham's faith led him to leave his homeland. Moses' faith parted the Red Sea. The woman with the issue of blood believed she would be healed by touching Jesus' garment. These stories remind us that faith, though sometimes fragile, can move mountains and part seas.

In the tapestry of life, each thread of faith, resilience, and kindness is woven into a picture that reveals a guiding hand—a hand that assures us we are never alone. Let us draw strength from the stories around us, from the shared human experience, and from the unwavering presence of that guiding hand.

As we move forward, may we be the bearers of that guiding hand for others, offering support, love, and a beacon of hope. Just as we've witnessed these hands reaching out in the lives of others, may our lives become a testament to the truth that even in the darkest of times, there is a hand reaching out to catch us and guide us safely.