for Sunday, August 9, 2020
I want to start this week at the beginning: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." Now that is really the beginning. We learn from Genesis that on the first day God created the heavens and earth and then created light to overcome the darkness. On the second day, we learn that the earth was covered in water. God created land and separated the seas from the land. He conquered the seas.
To the ancient people, the seas represented chaos. Fishermen and sailors, then, as well as now, know all too well the sudden turmoil caused by rough waters. If you ever saw the movie, The Perfect Storm, you would understand why the water is associated with chaos. Think back to the horrible Asian tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands. I experienced a terrifying blizzard when I was in Boston at the beginning of my priesthood. Since the Boston area is on the water, tremendous damaged was caused by the sea. I used to show people homes in the Revere and Winthrop area that had their second story windows destroyed by waves.
The sea hits us in the front, the back, the left and the right. There is no escaping it when we are in the middle of it. That is chaos.
But God conquered the seas. And Jesus walked on the water. He continues to walk on water. He walks on the chaos of our lives.
That is one of the messages of today's Gospel reading. No matter what chaos there is in the world and in our lives, Jesus walks on it. He conquers the chaos.
Jesus conquers the chaos that is caused by things that our beyond our control. Life itself is chaotic. Just when all is seems to be calm, a loved one suddenly dies. All of us have experienced this. We did not cause the chaos, but we do suffer from it.
Jesus conquers the chaos, even that chaos which we ourselves cause in our lives. Many of us have made bad choices. Many of us have sinned. Many of us suffer the results of our sins or the sins of others. For example, a person finally recognizes that he has gotten into a relationship which is destroying his family and destroying himself. He returns to his family, but the damage has been done. He and his family suffer the results of his sins.
It makes no difference whether we caused the chaos or whether we suffer from the chaos caused by others. Jesus still walks on the water. He conquers the chaos. Then, do you know what he does? He calls us to walk out onto the chaos and walk towards him. "Come Peter." Peter walked on the water. At least for a bit.
That is what Jesus does for us all. He walks on the chaos of our lives, and then calls us to come and join him. He gives us the strength to walk on water.
And what if we fail? What if we blink, and sink like Peter did? "Don't be afraid," the Lord says. He is there to reach down and lift us out of the water, out of the chaos, just as he lifted Peter out of the water, out of the chaos of his life.
The Lord knows that we are not saints, not yet anyway. He knows that we are weak. He accepted Peter, that loud lout, that well-meaning coward, and turned him into the Rock of the Church. He takes us as we are and walks with us on the water. He only asks us to have the courage to put our faith in Him. He gives us the strength to join Him in conquering the chaos.
Where is the chaos in your lives, in my life? Is it sickness or death? Is it chemical dependence? Is it some other addiction? Is it turmoil in your marriage or your family? Where have the seas raised up to chaotic dimensions? Wherever that chaos is, please remember, that there is nothing, no chaos that is too great for Jesus to conquer. And there is nothing too devastating for us to conquer with Him.
He walked on the waters, and He calls us to walk with Him.
Readings of the day:
This material is used with permission of its author, Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. Visit his
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: