This Sunday we hear the Gospel lesson for the 9th Sunday of Matthew which speaks about the miracle of Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33).
As the story goes, Jesus came to rescue the disciples from the raging winds and waves which according to the scriptures represented chaos, sin and death.
The band of disciples, symbolizing the Church, were tossed about by the storm in the middle of the night. When they thought all was lost, Jesus revealed Himself as Lord and came out to them walking on the water and spoke to them with the majestic term, “Ego Eimi”, which means I am here to save you. Almighty God spoke to Moses in a similar way from the burning bush revealing to him the Divine Name (I AM WHO I AM) Exodus 3:14. God spoke at that time to assure Moses of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. It is interesting to note that we have a sprig of the burning bush that was given to us by Father Justin from the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai.
Then as the story continues, the Apostle Peter emboldened by the divine presence of seeing Jesus, tried to walk on the water, but taking his eyes off Christ and peering at the inclement storm with its fierce winds, soon began to sink.
You see Peter symbolizes the Christian who in times of crisis panics and acts as if there is no hope. For it says in Psalm 144:7, “O Lord reach down from above, pull me out of the deep water, and rescue me”. Jesus then stretches forth His hand and saves Peter from the waters of death. This lesson teaches us quite clearly that there are times in a believer’s life, so full of hardships and peril, that one can find support only in unconditional faith in the Lord.
We are exhorted to keep our eyes on Christ rather than the “waves” (the bad times) in our life. The miracle of the walking on the water shows us Jesus’ divine powers as Lord over creation!
Jesus said to Peter, “come”, but taking his eyes off the Lord began to sink, to which Jesus reached with His hand, saying, “O yea of little faith…why did you doubt”. How many instances in our life has Jesus reached out His hand to save us, entreating us to simply believe and trust in Him, but often we lose sight of the Lord in our lives? But Jesus continually extends His hand of salvation to those whose faith is strong and steadfast.
It is we who must focus our sight on the Lord never faltering in our love and confidence in Him, that everything will be OK. This is the meaning of the Gospel story: that with a sincere, steadfast, and abiding love of Jesus everything will be OK.