The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXX: “Of Asking the Divine Assistance, and of Confidence of Receiving Grace” (first entry)
I am reminded in this chapter of the story of Job. Kempis has Christ telling us “Is anything difficult to Me? Or shall I be like the one who promises and does not perform.” He asks for an increase in faith, especially in the most turbulent of times, even when it seems He is not there. The true disciple who sincerely endeavors to do God’s will trusts Him in all circumstances.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Mt 14:22-36
The famous episode of Jesus walking on water graces us today. The disciples in the boat see Jesus coming to them on the sea are scared out of their wits. Jesus reassures them and then Peter impulsively asks the Lord to have him come out on the water to meet Him. Jesus tells him to come but Peter becomes afraid when a strong wind starts blowing and starts to sink, calling on his Master to help him. Jesus pulls him out of the water and they get into the boat (prompting an exclamation of faith from all) and get to shore. At their landing, Jesus is immediately sought out to perform healings, which He grants to all who come.
Christ certainly did “repair all” in the boat. Peter, firstly, in his near death experience, and the rest of the crew who, in seeing this unprecedented event, declared Jesus to be God. He strengthened their faith through a miracle. Their spirit was recovered after the storm. How often must these witnesses (Gk. mártyres) have hearkened back to this event when storms were brewing in their lives and ministries. How they must have been bolstered in remembering Jesus’ words, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” How many times must they have cried out in their lives, “Lord save me,” as did Peter. Their three years with Jesus would have been a constant source of fodder for meditation for the rest of their lives. But I would wager this story must have come to mind particularly often and been shared with others with great drama and joy.
In our lives, how many times do we appeal to the Lord when the storms come? Do we recall “do not be afraid”/ Do we implore Him to “save us” with full confidence that He cares and that He will? And when the trial passes, and we recognize Jesus’ assistance, are we sure to reiterate our conviction to Him that “Truly, you are the Son of God”? May it be always the case in this life, so that when He calls us home we can utter those same words as He welcomes us into His Kingdom.