A favorite summer activity was when our mother took us swimming at the public pool. We had the whole pool to ourselves but inevitably would congregate towards one another. Without fail one of us would start splashing the other by putting our hand into the water and with all our might throw the water into the other’s face. “Mother, Gus is getting me wet! Luis is getter me wet! Sally is splashing me!” Mother would say, “Stop getting each other wet or you’ll have to come out of the pool.”
St. Peter was all wet. He thought that he was going to drown. “Save me Lord!” Consider that the water represents sin. The boat is a symbol of the Church. Thus the expression, “We are all in the same boat.” While we share the safety that the Church offers us we also share the danger of sinking when we venture outside of the Church. If indeed the water represents sin, St. Peter had been wet for long time. He was a sinful man and admits being sinful several places in the Scriptures. That’s one reason that we can all identify with St. Peter. Speaking before thinking—putting his foot in his mouth—bragging about his fidelity and then failing miserably. But he was smart enough to come to Jesus to ask for help. We do not have to wait until we are downing to ask for help. Procrastination is still quite popular—which is why some folks wait until the last minute. Although the Sacrament of Extreme Unction no longer exists, the mentality is still around. Years ago a priest was called when a person was on their last breath—had to be dying. The priest would come and administer the Extreme Unction—the last anointing—starting from the head, the ears, the eyes all the way down to the feet. If the person was aware, he would also hear their confession. Now we have the Sacrament of the Sick. A person no longer has to be in danger of death, but seriously ill. People ask to be anointed before surgery, before going for cancer treatments, certainly before being admitted to the hospital—always a good idea.
The boat or the Church is our refuge, She gives us the Sacraments The Church has been challenged from the beginning and will continue to be persecuted until the end. But Jesus keeps Her safe though the Holy Spirit—just as present today as with the early Apostles. Storms will come. However, the saving hand of Jesus is stronger than all the storms put together.
Notice that Jesus did not hesitate to save St. Peter. “Immediately” the Scripture says—no conditions—no questions—Jesus pulled St. Peter to safety. All he had to do was ask. We often forget to ask because we are distracted by the storm, the wind, our own ability to walk on water. We work hard, earn titles, reach the mark—the thought comes that somehow we deserve what we have. The illusion is that we can survive without the Lord. Only a matter of time before we go under and realize that we are “all wet”. Takes child-like confidence, a trusting heart, a humble attitude to know that we are not in charge. We cannot save ourselves. Regardless of how soaked we think that we are—how much we have damaged ourselves—we are salvageable—we are lovable. As Jesus drew St. Peter out of the water and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” He was probably smiling. “Why did you doubt that I would save you? “Why did you doubt that I love you?” That’s the reason that most of us go under—because we stop believing that God loves us, forgives us, and will one day take us to heaven. We doubt that we are worthy of being God’s dwelling place. Remember the prayer: “Lord save me!” Save me in spite of myself.
Jesus is waiting for us to realize that we are nothing without Him. All we have to do is ask. His hand is always ready.