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Sunday's Sermon: Walking on Water

Reading: Matthew 14: 22-23

Walking on water

This story that is so well known to Christians is a continuation of last weeks reading. Remember, Jesus fed the five thousand and after all was done he goes off to the mountain to pray. The apostles go on ahead and become stuck in a storm at sea. I have had that experience and I can attest to how frightening it is. They a afraid and then they see this figure coming to them from off in the distance. They believe it to be a ghost but it turns out to be Jesus and he is walking on water!

I can just imagine their shock and awe. If it is Jesus, he is once again doing the impossible. Peter is still not sure so he says, “if it is really you then command me to come to you on the water.” So Jesus does and Peter gets out of the boat. And Peter walks briefly on water and then he gets scared and begins to sink.

Jesus of course saves Peter from drowning. He also calms the waters and the grateful disciples worship him as the Son of God.

Peter is a very interesting fellow. He is prone to make bold statements but he doesn't always have good follow through. Remember during the passion Peter denies Jesus three times even though he earlier vowed to never do so. Maybe that is why I relate to him so well. Peter is a flawed human. 

Lets get back to the boat. There is a book written by John Ortberg called, If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat. This book title is a metaphor directed toward all of us. I read it many years ago and let me share with you what I remember. Peter took the risk. He left the relative safety of the boat for the choppy sea and what would be considered an impossible task of walking on the water. It went well for him as long as his focus and his trust was on Jesus. The moment he was distracted he began to drown.

The message Jesus gave to Peter is the same one he gives us. When you have Christ and his mission as your focus you can do seemingly impossible things. I have to speak on a personal level here. I am a little like Peter. I tend to get out of the boat not fully prepared, not fully focused and then I begin to sink. Then Jesus just shakes his head and through his grace he pulls me out of the water … again.

Jesus made faith a real focus for many of his sermons. And, he talks a lot about us not having enough of it. We are all works in progress. That is why I think prayer is so important. I know I don't do enough of it. I am not talking about praying for wealth or an A on an exam or to win the lottery. I am talking about the things that truly change our lives and those around us. I pray to have the courage to know what is right, to do what is right, to face adversity no matter what it is, and to live by the Christian principles of love and faith.

I pray that I will have the courage to get out of the boat and walk on that choppy sea that we call life and to have the focus to keep my head above water. I know that all things are possible as long as Jesus and his teachings are my focus and my guide.
Walk On Water: A Cautionary Tale
Joey had heard a family rumor that his father, his grand-father and even his great-grandfather, all "walked on water" on their 21st birthday. Well today was his 21st birthday and if they could do it, so could he.

So, off he went in a boat with his friend Eric. When he got out in the middle of the lake, he got up and stepped out of the boat....and damn near drowned.

The next day, Joey asked his grandmother why he wasn't given the same gift as the others in his family. The grandmother told him that his father, grand-father and great-grandfather had all been born in February...not in August as was he.

Fr. Fred

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