With faith we can move mountains. Without faith we drown. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” We can try to guess what was in the mind of St. Peter as he started to sink. But we will never know.
Easier to rationalize when we are reading about what happened; or if we had been one of the Apostles in the boat. Easier to be judgmental when we have dry feet. When was the last time that we walked on water? When was the last time that we were asked to do the impossible? St. Peter made the first move. Whatever his motivation was, “If it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Perhaps he was curious or wanted to be near Jesus or had always wanted to walk on water and never had had the chance. Fact is that he got out of the boat. “Come”—was the word of invitation to step out of his fear. The familiar is safer. We do not have to risk anything if we stay in the boat. In a sense the boat represents our comfort zone. The Church can become our comfort zone. For many, that is what She is—a place of refuge. Yet, the mandate of Christ was “Go out to all the world….” He said, “Go out.” He did not say, “Stay in.” We wait for folks to come knocking at our door rather than to go and knock on their door. We tried door to door visitation. Did not go well. Very few were interested in walking the neighborhood. “What if people slam the door on our face?” “What if we get bitten by a dog?” The few who did go had good encounters. No one slammed the door and the dogs behaved themselves. Same old excuses, “I’m too old. That’s not my thing. We don’t do that in the Catholic Church.” We like to stay in the safety of the boat.
We are better at fund raisers, census taking, distributing pamphlets during election time. However, we do not do well in sharing our faith. Where would we start? What do we say? We can only share the road that we have walked. Otherwise, people will not believe us. Information does not necessarily cause transformation. We tend to share knowledge: Commandments, precepts, rules. The personal stuff we keep hidden. However, the personal stuff is what gives witness of our walk with Jesus Christ. We can imagine that the Apostles might have poked fun at St. Peter for sinking. They might have laughed at him. Perhaps they repeated what Jesus said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” That was personal stuff between Jesus and Peter. Yet, the incident helped the others. They could see themselves in Peter. Every story in the Bible reflects who we are.
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Is Jesus talking to us personally. Because we doubt all the time! Doubt is not bad. Means we are thinking, processing. We usually doubt ourselves. So did the Apostles, that’s why they stayed in the boat. We doubt each other, our country, the economy. What gets us into trouble, is when we doubt in God’s love for us, which leads to having little faith. We become our own worst enemy because we block sanctifying grace. The “worthy/unworthy” issues surface. The “worthy” game is a game that we can never win. [My grandfather would go from the confessional on Saturday to his bedroom until the next day to be able to receive Holy Communion on Sunday. In his mind it was a sin to say a bad word. In order not to say a bad word he would isolate himself. But that was the way he spoke. There was no malice.] No one can approach the Blessed Sacrament worthily. God’s forgiveness, His grace, His mercy makes us worthy. He keeps us from sinking into the pride of trying to be self-sufficient. We cannot exist outside of the mercy of God, not for an instant. Perhaps that was the lesson about the boat caught by the waves. And “We are all in the same boat.”
The Lord gives us opportunities to venture beyond our comfort zone. In the storm, He is ready to give us a helping hand. He will not allow us to sink.