Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 14, 22-36

And at once he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he sent the crowds away.

After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

while the boat, by now some furlongs from land, was hard pressed by rough waves, for there was a head-wind.

In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea,

and when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 'It is a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.

But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, 'Courage! It's me! Don't be afraid.'

It was Peter who answered. 'Lord,' he said, 'if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.'

Jesus said, 'Come.' Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water,

but then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink. 'Lord,' he cried, 'save me!'

Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. 'You have so little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'

And as they got into the boat the wind dropped.

The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, 'Truly, you are the Son of God.'

Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.

When the local people recognised him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all that were sick to him,

begging him just to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were saved.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus invites his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side while he stays behind to dismiss the crowds. Finally, after everyone has left (the crowd and the disciples), Jesus climbs up the mountain alone to pray. It is a scene that often is found in the Gospels (evidently it had made quite an impression on the disciples and the first Christian community). As the boat is crossing the lake, a storm blows in. The Evangelist seems to be saying that without Jesus it is easy for the winds to blow and storms to come. And, in any case, night, every night, is always full of fear. But dawn comes. And as the sun is rising, Jesus comes towards the disciples, walking on the water. Fear confuses the disciples’ minds and eyes, and they think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus speaks directly to them, however, and says, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter, full of doubt, asks Jesus to command him to come to him. And Jesus answers his prayer: “Come!” he tells him. Peter recognizes the invitation that he heard for the first time by the shores of that same lake, and once again, immediately leaves his boat and nets and heads towards Jesus. He too walks on water. A trusting and immediate response to the Lord’s call can always produce miracles. But the wind is raging, and Peter is afraid, just as we are afraid when we face strong and violent adversity. And so Peter begins to sink. At this point, his desperation makes him pronounce a desperate prayer: “Lord, save me!” And Jesus immediately takes his hand. And Peter is saved. Of course, Jesus reminds him of his little faith, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Peter had started walking on water, for the disciples can sometimes accomplish things that seem unimaginable, but his resignation to evil makes him fall. Fear makes us sink. The opposite of fear is not courage, but trust. “Why did you doubt?” Jesus tenderly asks of him. There is no need for courage, but the ability to trust the one who never leaves us alone and who lifts us out of danger. The Lord continues to take us by the hand and climb in our boat with us to continue our voyage on the sea of life. We are asked to never leave the Lord’s side and to always follow his voice.