The Gospel Today
Memorial of St. John Vianney, Priest
Matthew 14: 22-36
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.
Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):
Among the twelve apostles, only Peter walked on water. However, fear and doubt filled him when he saw the big waves of the sea. As he began to sink, Jesus immediately took his arm and caught him.
I believe this incident is similar to the things in life. When life’s demands become too enormous and problematic we or some people easily get frightened and doubtful about the graces of God. We have the tendency to search for something, person or authority to cling on as our source of stability and security. We forget that Jesus is always there stretching His hand to help us and always reaching out to us.
Recently, I was dragged in a controversy. My co-employee, who was terminated by the company where I worked before, has brought an action against me. I felt insulted and embarrassed. I needed to subject myself to a process like those violators of the law. The hardest part of this action is the effect it has on my family especially to my parents who are really dear to me.
During this time I was asking myself: Why do these things need to happen? Is it not enough that I had let go of my family and career to heed the call to priesthood? All of a sudden I felt I was alone and betrayed by some of the people I trusted. They could not give me a clear solution to the problem. However, after deeper reflection and prayer, I realized the goodness in the situation. My boat was shaken to strengthen my faith in Christ. It happened not to let me down, rather to allow me to see how the hands of Christ extend to assure me that He is under control.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint of all priests. During his lifetime, he also suffered different trials and even persecution while serving in the ministry of priesthood. St. John Marie Vianneys’ life is similar to the lives of the apostles, as they were also tested and tried but their faith remained with Jesus. They embraced Jesus instead of clinging to worldly security and protection. Now we also face the same challenges, Jesus in his humanity embraced obediently the cross for us, let us embrace and allow Jesus to reign in our life.
Lastly, let us pray for all our pastors especially those who baptized us when we were infants, even those priests who minister to us in various ways. Also, let us continue to include in our prayers the priests whose faith are being shaken, that, they allow themselves to be vulnerable in the eyes of God so that they may be strengthened by His Spirit.