“Take courage, Do not be Afraid”
The Gospel passage, today, presents us with two miracles, namely, the episode of Jesus walking on the water and coming to the disciples to save them from the storm and calming the storm. It’s the type of Gospel that suits a decision time, challenging us into deep trust; an invitation to come to the water; not to be afraid. It’s about trusting in Jesus, when there is nothing else. This miracle of Jesus follows immediately after feeding the five thousand and more people in the desert that reconfirms the Christological identity of Jesus. Here Jesus manifests his divine identity by calming the stormy waters. Immediately after the miracle of multiplication, we are told that Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go to the opposite shore while he himself would send the crowds away and spend the night in prayer.
Matthew also here features the special role of Peter, the leader of the disciples and something he likes to stress. Peter is close to Jesus and so he is the one who steps out of the boat to go and meet him in the midst of the storm. This surely is an image of the Church’s apostolic mission to reach out to find and make Christ present in the world, however hostile it may be. It is not the role of the Church to stay cowering in the shelter of their boat but in the storm of the sea. As we come forward to receive our Lord today in the Eucharist, carrying all our problems and concerns, let us remember that he is always present waiting for us. He is there stretching out his comforting and saving hand so that we may not sink in our storms of life. He continues to tell us even today, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”