Fr Maurice: Walking On Waters of Our Fears
Dear Holy People of God,
In today’s Gospel, Matthew 14:22-33, the Lord encounters us in an emotion that is much more commonplace: fear.
Many things can cause us to be afraid: the fear of the unknown, the fear of tomorrow, the fear that things might not go as I hope, the fear of newness, the fear of poverty, the fear of broken relationships, the fear of loneliness and abandonment, the fear that comes with the burden of age; I cant do all that i used to do, I have to go slow, I have to take it easy.
At the root of the feeling of fear is the fear of death; the greatest of all fears.
We see Simon crying out for his life in today’s Gospel text, “Lord, save me because i’m afraid to die!” And the Lord reaches out to him and grabs him.
With all that is happening in our world today with this pandemic, the experience of Peter could be ours also. “Lord, save us! Don’t you see that we are going down?! Do something to help us.”
Again and again I ask the Lord when I pray: please help us.
There is something that Peter teaches us in the gospel–its connected to this text but in a different perspective–when the crowd is walking away from the Lord, after he had taught them about the Eucharist, and the Lord turns to Peter and the others and says “will you go away also?” And Peter says, “to whom shall we go?” (John 6:67-68)
I think that is the understanding that makes us cling to the Lord when we fear, reasoning, if we don’t cling to the lord, to who else should we cling to?
The greatest fear of living martyrs, at the end of the day, is not just the fear of our logical death, because of the seed of immortality in us; because each one of us is created with an immortal soul. The greatest thing to fear is being separated from God forever.
We fear death, and rightly so, because there is something immortal in us there is something in us that resists the finitude imposed by death–something in us that does not want to accept the last things.
When Peter when he cries out, “save me,” that is the cry of the immortal soul.
The external circumstances are so frightful, but the internal storms in peter were much more challenging than the external storms. Rather than allow himself to be consumed by the external storms he called to the one who could do something about them.
So during this very challenging time, rather than reducing our time of prayer, we should increase it. Let us make the prayer of Peter our own, and say to the Lord, “save us. Be with us.”
The Lord promise is he’ll be there through the storms–not without the storms. Jesus does not promise anyone an storm-free life, but he promises to be with us through the storm, and that is what is most important.
– Fr Maurice