Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost (13 August)

Our Gospel passage is drawn from Matthew Chapter 14

Our Gospel for today is a text filled with vivid imagery. The picture of the disciples sent on their own across troubled seas and of Jesus walking on water to save them and to calm the waters is a picture that has given comfort, encouragement, and challenge to Christians over the generations. This text and its parallel texts in Mark 6.45-52 and John 6.16-21 have been used over the centuries to remind us that Jesus often calls us to go into uncharted waters, but when we go in faithfulness, he never abandons us. These images have rich power for interpreting the love of God, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, our calling to be in mission, and the assurance of Christ’s love and companionship when we need it most. However, unique to the Gospel of Matthew’s version of these events, and not found in Mark and John’s accounts, is the dialogue with Peter and his attempt to step out of the boat and walk on water to Jesus, in response to the command of his Lord. It is this encounter that may have the richest imagery to enable the Word of God to speak to us through this passage. What is so clear from this passage is that we are called to step out in faith, even in the midst of troubled waters, if we are to be faithful to the call of Christ. Stepping out in faith is not a guarantee that we will not face troubled waters or be filled with fear, but it is always accompanied by the assurance that Jesus will not abandon us, that when we need it most, he will extend his arm to lift us up and get us back in the boat. The key to faith and fullness of life in Christ is to follow Peter’s example and be willing to step out of the comfort and security of the boat and head into the troubled waters of the world to proclaim the love and mercy of God that we find in Jesus Christ. That is what Matthew invites us to do. Are we ready and willing?