Walking on the Water
As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”
There’s a line in an old film where a woman falling from a building is caught by Superman, who says “Don’t worry, ma’am, I’ve got you”, and she replies “Yes, but who’s got you?”
But back to the scripture!
I just love Peter, because he flounders his way through the Gospels, putting his foot in it, saying whatever comes into his head, and often, doing exactly the wrong thing - even though he means well. He’s just like us. And yet – for all his disasters, he’s the one Jesus decides will take care of his Church and his people.
Peter starts off as scared as the others – first, by the terrible storm, and then when they see a mysterious shape floating on the water, but Peter knows that if this is really Jesus, he will be able to protect him. This is Peter’s big chance to show his faith, and at first, his trust in Jesus is powerful, and he begins to walk on the water, knowing that Jesus has got him. But then, he looks down and starts to worry, and the trust is broken. Yet, even though he’s panicking and sinking, Jesus has still got him. He is still saved, even though his faith was shaken for a while.
Peter is our proof that Jesus didn’t come to save the perfect people; that he can trust us even when our trust in him gets a bit dented. He’s still there for us, even when we let him down; even when it looks as if things aren’t going the way we hoped they would.
Like Peter, although we may say we have faith and we trust in God, and we may set out with every intention of leaving things in his hands, we often let worries and fears get in the way, and start drowning under a wave of ‘What ifs’.
Those are the times when we have to ‘let go and let God’ – to put everything in his hands and trust that he’s got us.
Salesian Communications Worker
You trusted Peter, despite his mistakes.
Let us trust in your mercy.
Strengthen our faith.
Take away our worries.
Show us how to bring our troubles to you,
and trust in your plan for us.