Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Many of us have prayed with Peter who cried out “Lord, save me!” or, in another gospel, “Lord, save me; I am perishing!” This is especially true when God calls us out of our comfort zone as he did when he said to Peter “Come.” One wonders whether Peter regretted his previous request, “Tell me to come to you across the water.” Peter was doing fine at first but then lost his footing and began to sink. Why? Perhaps it is because initially he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus who was the animator of his extraordinary journey across the turbulent waters. Or, should we say “the turbulent waters of life”? But then he lost his focus on Jesus and focused instead on himself and his precarious situation. Things fell apart.
Peter didn’t remember what Jesus had previously said, “Get hold of yourselves. It is I. Do not be afraid.” It is no wonder that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews gives a practical word of advice. In the twelfth chapter he suggests, “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.” How can I put this advice more effectively into the fabric of my daily life?
—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.
Jesus, you are my life, my strength, my hope. Help me keep my eyes on you through all the turmoil and challenge I will face today. There’s nothing that will happen that you and I can’t manage together. Here we go!