Raised out of the water—Ninth Sunday of Matthew

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.

It is easy, dear brothers and sisters, to start out on the spiritual life with much fervour.  It may be all too easy for us: prayer comes naturally, we think the best of those around us, Church services feel engaging and, like Peter, we call out to the Lord, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.”  We can even say this when those around us are crying out, “It is a ghost!”

And we walk out onto the water.  We do something that is clearly impossible, clearly beyond our power, clearly the work of God; but how do we respond when the Lord shares his power with us?  When we pray to the Lord that he does something, and it happens, do we offer thanks to the Lord or do we allow ourselves to be dragged beneath the waves of this life at the enormity of the action?

Peter could feel the waves around him, he could feel this temporary life dragging him down, but he did not succumb to the inevitable, he did not shrug his shoulders and say, “What else can I do?”  He turned his attention to the Lord and said, “Lord, save me.”  How do you respond, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when you face challenges in your spiritual lives?  How do I?  Do we fall into self-pity when the waves of the cares of this life grow around us?  Do we wish God had never revealed himself to us so that we would not be in this difficulty?  Or do we turn again to the Lord and cry out “Lord, save me”?  Do we trust in the mercy of God or lament our situation?

There is a difference, though, between Peter and us: when Peter was called out of the boat he did so by himself—and this is important, the relationship between Peter and the Lord was direct and personal.  Ours, too, is direct and personal but we do not step out alone.  Each one of us is called out as part of this community and we in this community may be the ones through whom the Lord stretches out a hand to our brother or sister in distress.  We are here, my dear brothers and sisters, to offer our hands to those in need, to offer comfort and support, encouragement and love, so that all may be raised up to the surface and walk on the water towards Christ.

Pray for me, and pray for each other, that through us all the Lord will raise up each one of us on our journey to life.

That we may offer support and care to our neighbour and may all offer praise, glory and honour to the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit, Amen.