Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
Today the scriptural reading calls us to move into the hills for a prayerful encounter with God, with which we are strengthened to overcome the waves of life that seek to frighten us.
According to Martin Dudabes, the story of Jesus walking on water follows the story of the feeding of the five thousand. “Twice the disciples were faced with situations of threat to their lives, but Jesus always ‘came to the rescue’ and saved them through a sovereign act of authority.” They were not being rebellious or foolhardy, but obedient. The difficulties that they experienced on the sea were not of their own making, but stemmed from their compliance with Jesus’ command. Cranfield comments: “If it is a result of obedience to Christ’s command that the church or the individual Christian is in a situation of danger or distress, then there is no need to fear.”
Brethren, take note that Jesus dismissed them and went up the mountain to pray. Matthew tells us that He is “by himself” and “alone”— emphasizing the solitary nature of His prayer. We must learn to pray at all times, especially when danger is near, so that we can stand strong amidst the storms of life. Hence, the Psalmist says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psa. 50:15)
Verse 25 says, “Jesus came to them, walking on the sea”. In Biblical literature, the sea is often represented as the abode of demonic forces hostile to God. At the time of the writing of this Gospel, Matthew’s audience were weathering the storm of persecution. These Christians were not in rebellion, but faithfully serving God. The story of the disciples on the sea, therefore, mirrors exactly the situation of Matthew’s audience. It holds a promise that Jesus comes to Christians in the midst of the storm—that the storm does not hold the upper hand—that Christ is present with us in the storm and redeems us from it.
Keep this in mind as we end this reflection; that, even in the midst of persecution, you need not fear—Jesus is present with you. It offers the same reassurance to us in times of illness, death, persecution, or other troubles. It prepares us for times when things are going badly—or well. Adversity is not a sign of God’s displeasure or prosperity a sign of God’s pleasure. Wealth does not equate to God’s favour or poverty to unfavor. Illness is not a sign of inadequate faith or health a sign of great faith. “Cheer up! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”
MASS: GREEN 1 Kgs 19:9a. 11-13a; Ps. 85:8ab.9.10-11.12-13(R.7); Rom. 9:1-5; Accl. Ps. 130:5; Matt. 14:22-33
Prayer Points:
1. Pray for grace to always go to the mountain especially when danger is near.
2. Pray for the grace to have courageous faith in Jesus in times of adversity.
3. Pray for those Christians especially users of DSD passing through difficult times.
Exercise: Give a copy of DSD to someone passing through hard times or share today’s reflection with him or her.
Meditation: Daniel 3:17-18