Take Courage!

August 13, 2017
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Matthew 14:22-33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
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 Peter,
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.”

Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Peña)

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” These were the words of Jesus to His disciples when they saw Him walk on water. Taking courage is indeed the first step in order for one to walk on water and follow Jesus and taking courage means having that initial decision to get off the boat.

In the seminary, we have this attitude of “plunge lang”, disposing ourselves to disregarding the difficulty of performing a task, just letting go and taking that initial step. But where do we plunge ourselves in? In situations that are difficult, in things that are new or strange to us, in healthy relationships with people we like and even do not like. All these we do in faith. This is our way of saying, “Lord, in following You, I am willing to take risks and expose myself to difficult situations but please be here to journey with me…”

Following Jesus entails a daily getting-off our boats, our comfort zones in order to encounter Him in people we do not know, in situations that will test the limits of our patience and of our faith, and in places and territories we have not been before. Simply put, it is that disposition of letting yourself be of service to anyone and everyone as if you are serving Jesus himself.

In the context of our priestly formation, we are constantly challenged to get out of the boat which we do on a day to day basis – like trying to sing and dance even if you do not have the talent, and doing some performances and productions. These things we do not just for fun but always considering their usefulness in our future ministry as pastors of the Church. This also is a test of how much are we willing to give of ourselves for the greater glory of God.

Do you want to walk on water with Jesus? Then, start getting off your boat!

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