“Jesus sent his disciple to go before him while he went aside to pray in the mountain” (V23)
Prayer is the center of Jesus’ mission. The location of a mountain signals that this is an important moment for Him. He tried to find solitude earlier, but the crowds interrupted him. Now he finds the opportunity to pray. Matthew tells us that he is “by himself” and “alone”—emphasizing the solitary nature of his prayer.
Our father founder Bl. Francisco Palau was a man with a strong attraction for contemplation and solitude. He taught us the value of prayer in the midst of our mission because prayer is a time for relationship, for love, giving ourselves to the Beloved one- the Church, God and neighbor. For him prayer is the invincible weapon of the Church.
The fruit of our prayer must lead us to leave the mountain and go to the valleys to encounter the life of the people whom we are serving just like what Jesus did after he prayed.
Our prayer helps us to stay focused in mission.
“But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (v. 24). “In the fourth watch of the night” “Jesus came to them, walking on the sea” (v. 25b).
Along our journey we will be confronted with many situations, some will be filled with lessons, joy, celebrations and special moments for us, and some will be filled with heartaches, disappointments and frustrations. Our journey will not always be smooth; in fact, throughout our life, we will encounter many challenges. Jesus came to his disciples, amidst strong winds and waves, He manifested himself that he was present with them in the storm and would redeem them from the storm.
Things don’t always go our way, and we have two choices in dealing with the situations. We can focus on the fact that things didn’t go how we had hoped they would and let life pass us by, or two, we can make the best out of the situation and know that these are only temporary setbacks and find the lessons that are to be learned.
Everything that happens in our life happens for a reason. Stay focused.
“When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It’s a ghost!’ and they cried out for fear” (v. 26.) At once Jesus spoke to them, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (V. 27)
Jesus came to them, walking on the water and when they saw Him, they all screamed out in terror. This was something that was outside their experience and fear was the emotion that gripped them all. But Jesus immediately reassured them by calling out, “Have courage, it is I”. His response to his disciples’ prayer is without any delay. His reassuring word to have courage is to demonstrate that He is an ever-present help in time of our need. He wants us to trust Him in all situations, to cast all our cares upon Him, so that as we grow in faith we depend on Him more and more, and trust in His never-failing faithfulness.
Let not our fear paralyze us, let’s stay focused on Jesus’ words of encouragement. “It is I, do not be afraid”
“He said, ‘Come!’ Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus” (v. 29). “But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’”
For Peter, this is a moment of both weakness and strength. He doubts, but wants to believe. He fears, but steps out of a perfectly good boat into the storm. Many times, we caught ourselves in the same situation. We started walking with faith, walking ‘on waters’, having our eyes fixed on Jesus because we knew that he was with us, but somewhere along the road we got distracted and stopped looking ahead of us to Jesus and maintaining our faith in him believing that he is able to bring us through and started focusing on the boisterous winds around us.
Jesus didn’t allow Peter to sink in his physical water when Peter cried out with faith unto him; he likewise will not allow us to sink or go under the depth of our situations. Fr. Palau expressed in his letter (No. 54.2) that says “Forget yourself, place yourself in the hands of the providence and it will guide you…God will lead you to a safe port. “
Stay focused. With Jesus we can walk on the waters.
Reina del Carmelo Community