Gospel, Sermon
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On the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The story of Jesus walking on the water indicates the abiding presence of God in the midst of trials. The encounter in the sea roughly started with the disciples’ boat terribly tossed by gigantic waves. Out of nowhere, they saw something spectacular, none of them ever expected, that is, someone walking on the sea. They were terrified and immediately thought, gosh, it was a ghost as anybody possibly would. But Jesus said to them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.” They sort of calm down after that. Sigh of relief, Thank God you came. We were looking for you. We didn’t know where you went.

Peter, the gutsy leader of the group, who was always on top of things and never behind, wanted more and in turn, asked him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” which in all likelihood was like, I’m not sure Lord if it’s really you, coz um, that’s incredible. Now, can I go there and together let’s amaze the rest of the gang, por favor? I don’t know about Peter but if I were him, I probably would have stayed in the boat. Even if I grew up near the sea and on my vacation spent a good amount of time in the beach, to brave the waters amidst stormy waves was, no doubt, too risky.

Come! Jesus said. Peter stepped out of the boat and rushed into the water. He was doing just fine until a strong wind toppled him and down he went and cried out, Lord, save me. Jesus then, stretched out his hand and took Peter by the hand and said to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

This is exactly question we often ask ourselves every time we fall. Things like, why did I ever let myself sink deep into sin? Why did I become frightened almost offering no resistance at all? We lacked focus. We were distracted and easily carried away by the heavy waves, the destructive storms of life, the powerful forces of the devil that seemed endless, unstoppable and beyond our control. Some people blame it on the church for its failure to preach and teach but to a large extent, it boils down on the individual.

It’s a beautiful story that happens to everyone who has faith, with the possible exception of mystics. Not too long ago, a mother of four whose family opened their doors to Priests and actively serve the parish in almost all areas for sometime now, got into an accident that nearly took her life. She broke in tears when she told me, Of all the things her family has done to Priests and the church, treating them like royalties and helping out in every way they can to the community at large, how can the good Lord do this to her? This is the famous $M question which many of us put the blame on God and the distressed victim, too for whatever reason. However, nobody knows until we sit quietly with the Lord and learn the fact that it is a test of faith to measure how far we’ve gone.

In these tough times, I have heard many stories of people getting broke mostly due to job loss and over- spending. You are not alone is my usual answer and suggests frugality and prayer as its solution. After months of hopeless job searching, their savings slowly disappear together with their trust in the Feds to turn the crisis around and faith in Jesus for survival. This crisis is spiritual that encompasses an entire spectrum and not simply financial.

When our lives begin to sink again in the vast ocean of fear and uncertainty, chances are, we might hear the undesirable words of Jesus again, that is, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” putting us into hot water. It’s alright. As long as we know it’s our Lord stretching out his hand, we should not be bothered anyway. When he does, he’s putting us back into the right spot, the boat and off we go to the next chapter. Amen.

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This entry was posted in: Gospel, Sermon

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A Filipino Catholic Priest, born and raised in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, AZ, eleven years in ministry and counting, Pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Parish, Marana, AZ.

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