A Reflection on Mt 14:22-33
By Bro. Peter Pocbit et al
Jesus defies the law of nature as he walks on water in the gospel. This does not mean that he is against what is naturally decreed. It is just that He is beyond laws, even the law of nature. For Jesus loves humankind dearly and it seems that he needed to do things beyond what is natural and normal in order for humans to pay attention and listen to him. “At daytime, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.” Never did anyone hears that walking on the water is possible. He had to walk on the water to show to the fearful disciples that they should always depend on God, who is the Maker of heaven and earth.
In the gospel, Jesus invited the aggressive Peter to walk with him on water. In our case, God has given us our entire lifetime and challenges us “to walk on the sea,” i.e., to put our trust and faith in God and follow Him even at times when following him seems impossible. To walk on the sea is impossible in the eyes of the world. To brave what is not usual in our lives, to carry on with life amidst hopeless and sorrow, to continue with our tasks after so many failures seems very difficult and heavy to those who are in these crossroads of their life. But for God, the invitation is good and real.
Like Jesus’ invitation to Peter in the gospel, the invitation focuses on the nature of our self as the gift of God. God has faith in us and he believes that there is greatness in the depth of our heart. This is the encounter between God and ourselves. Each of us is called by God to let His indwelling rule our heart. Jesus calls your name and bids you: “Peter, walk on water.” You have in you the capacity to care for the poor, to overcome obstacles, to live a life greater than what you have today. The richness of self is expressed in the service of “the lost, the least and the last.” And we cannot do so if we do not believe that we can do more than what is within our power. Like Jesus with eyes on Peter, God calls us to soar above our difficulties, fears, problems, weaknesses. He calls us to soar so that we can live a life with him always present at our side.
The fear of Peter causes him to sink in. It is very true that the burdens and problems bring us down and leave us paralyzed. As much as Jesus wanted Peter to walk with heart fully braced unto God, his fear got the better of him. But he immediately acknowledges his limitations and called to the Lord to save him. And the Lord comes to his aid at once. We could be like Peter, fearful and, many times, feeling loneliness in our struggles. Peter is teaching us this time that when one feels his life as if he is sinking on water, all we need is a prayer to God. We only need to brace ourselves with faith and hope and Christ will always be at our side to tell us that we are never alone.
In our lifetime, God is constantly calling us. At this precarious time of the pandemic, may we listen to God’s invitation: “Come to me, Peter. Walk with me as we trod along the road going to our true home.”