Today is the ninth Sunday after Pentecost in which is read the Gospel if St. Matthew Chapter 14 verses 22-33 concerning Jesus walking on water. The miracle of the walking on the water shows Jesus’s divine powers as Lord over creation. As the lesson tells us he came to rescue his disciples from the raging winds and waves which in the Holy Scripture symbolize chaos, sin and death. The little band of disciples, symbolizing the Church, were all in the boat being tossed about by the ferocious storm in the middle of the night, similar to the storms off of Father Herman’s Spruce Island in Alaska.
It seemed to the disciples that everything seemed lost, when the situation became hopeless. Then miraculously Jesus revealed Himself as Lord and spoke to them with the words, “it is I”, which interpreted meant, “I am here to save you”. This is similar to the way God spoke to Moses from the burning bush on Mt. Sinai, revealing to him the divine name, “I am who I am”, assuring Moses of Israels deliverance from Egypt.
As the story goes then, Peter tried to walk, glancing for a moment at the treacherous sea then sinking. You see Peter symbolizes the Christian who in times of crises, panics and acts as if there is no hope. Many of us have emulated the Apostle Peter in our own lives, sometimes failing to trust in the Lord that He will make all things fine. We as Peter have called out to the Lord many a time with the same words he uttered when sinking, “Save me O Lord”. Jesus hearing him, stretches forth His hand to deliver the Apostle Peter from death. There are many times in our lives, when afflicted with woes and perils, that we can only find support in the unconditional faith in the Lord Jesus.
This is the faith that our own Father Herman, whose 50th anniversary of His canonization we celebrate today, had throughout his 40 years in Alaska, enduring every hardship and peril that could befall him. Yet Father Herman endured all these trials and tribulations with an unending faith in the mercy and love of Almighty God for His creation. Because of this faith in God, that Father Herman accomplished so much for God’s Church in America, with his love for the native people of Alaska and especially for the children, whom he raised and nurtured single handedly in such harsh circumstances.
So my dear brothers and sisters, let us follow the example of our beloved patron, who with simplicity and fervor accomplished great things because of the support and unending love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
GLORY TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS!
Holy Father Herman of Alaska pray unto God for us!