Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
After witnessing Jesus feeding thousands with only several loaves of bread and a few fish, then seeing him walk on water and calm the storm, the disciples have seen him perform two miracles in one day. This is all so confusing to them as it is still early in his ministry and the disciples are trying to figure out who this Jesus really is and where they fit in as his followers. Their hearts are “hardened,” meaning they are not open to comprehending the acts they see Jesus perform. He reminds them by saying “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
When we find ourselves confused in our faith journey, it can sometimes be intimidating, as we are uncertain of the direction we are heading. Often times, in many gospel passages, Jesus reminds his followers not to be afraid and to trust and believe in him. Are we listening to his assurances that, even in the most difficult trials and tribulations of our lives, Jesus is always watching over us and will help guide us, if we only “soften” our hearts to his message?
—John and Katie Nicolau are active members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Glenview IL, where they have lived for over 23 years. They have been married for 32 years and have 4 children, three of whom graduated from Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL, John’s alma mater. John also serves on the board of Charis, a Jesuit ministry for young adults.
Friends, Jesus calls us to step out on to the water with him,
to leave the safety of our boats, and to walk toward Him in faith,
joining Him in the work he is already doing in our world.
And when the wind and waves get high and threaten to overwhelm us,
we remember his words: “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.”
So let’s go with faith, to follow where Jesus leads,
confident that his love and presence go with us.
—Isac Goulart © 2002Please share the Good Word with your friends!