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Who Am I?

  • August 2, 2022 (readings)
  • Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
  • Jennifer Ristine
  • Matthew 14:22-36

    Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

    Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me spiritual eyes and ears to discern the difference between your presence and chaos. May I choose to walk toward you rather than toward the chaos that seems to surround me.

    Encountering Christ:

    1. Contrary Currents: Place yourself in this Gospel scene with Peter. Two contrary currents are present: the sea of chaos versus the steady figure of the Lord with hand outstretched. Where will you fix your gaze? The sea of chaos is present in our interior and exterior, crashing against us and creating a sensation of instability, drowning, fear, agitation, confusion, and mistrust in our next step. The media, family situations, culture wars, political divides, work challenges, Church conflicts, money problems, disharmonic relationships—all a sea of chaos in the world in which we are called to steady the rocking boat. To whom do we look for peace and stability, trust and redemption in the midst of the turmoil?

    2. Courage: Jesus spoke into the chaos: “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid!” His words were commanding, consoling, and inviting. No situation is too chaotic to drown out the Gospel. These words resonated amid a Galilean squall and echoed through the confusion of a first-century martyrdom to the present-day turmoil of twentieth-century chaos. We need the grace to recognize the Lord’s commanding and consoling voice in the depth of our interior. We sit with this appeal from the Lord: Courage, be not afraid! Our Lord invites us to take a step toward him with an act of trust. Let us recall past moments in our life where the Lord proved himself faithful and trustworthy. Let’s look to salvation history. He promised that “You will be my people and I shall be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22). Let’s bank our act of trust on the proof of his fidelity. God has sent his Son into the chaos to redeem us. 

    3. Profession: The disciples taught us the way. They recognized the Lord and proclaimed their newfound discovery. “Truly you are the Son of God!” No amount of chaos or apparent limit to one’s faith impedes the most free and profound act of the human person: adoration and worship of the Lord. In situations that create turmoil, anguish, upset, or instability, we step out of the boat towards the Lord in faith. We hear his voice. We prostrate before him and profess our faith, “Truly you are the Son of God!” In this profession, we discover our identity as a beloved son or daughter in the Son whom he has come to rescue from the depths of Sheol. 

    Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you have the word of everlasting life. Help me hear your commanding, consoling, and inviting words to me personally. You call me to stake a claim on my identity as a beloved child of God. No one can take that from me. Help me distinguish between the world's voices and your voice, and hold firm to the steady hand that you offer. 

    Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will pay attention to the contrary voices, identify them and turn to you for my next step.

    For Further Reflection: Learn from the masters about the discernment of spirits. 


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