The disciples are made to get into the boat and go ahead to the other side.
We often use the expression ‘get on board’ to mean get involved, join in, be part of something. ‘getting into the boat’ suggests this to me. What are some of the things that are worth getting on board about for you?
'Getting into the boat' of course means not everything will be straight sailing as the disciples experienced facing the head wind on the lake. Our lives are filled with challenges that sometimes lead us to lose hope and doubt the direction we are heading in. We much prefer the security of what is familiar to us rather than the possibility of what is new and awaits us on the other side.
Christ appears to be leaving his disciples to fend for themselves battling the heavy sea. I am sure you have felt like that at times. Our Gospel today is reminding us of this experience, but that Christ never abandons us. Resilience, character, being real, understanding, seeking help are qualities born from adversity. Sometimes what we experience can appear so overwhelming that we fail to recognise Christ calling out to us saying ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’
The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost, but St Peter says, ‘Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ This gives me a deep sense of consolation. Peter isn’t entirely sure it is Jesus that he sees but he is prepared to ask the question and take the risk to get out of the boat and walk towards him. Things are not always clear for us in facing who we are and the circumstances of our lives, but we trust anyway that Christ is present somehow and invites us to come to him through it all. We know that Peter was OK for a while but took fright and began to sink. I can relate to that. Peter’s faith was tested and so is ours. Christ reaches out his hand and holds us. Maybe we can allow that image to deepen within us and comfort us today with whatever battle and headwind we face.
One of the songs that you can listen to now is on my joint album with Janice Bateman ‘Reason to Believe’ and is entitled ‘Help Me Believe’ featured on my website under ‘Songs Commissioned’.
The lyric alludes to Peter’s brief walk on the water. ‘And when you see me sinking beneath the shifting waves, you help me to reach out to you.’