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The invitation implicit in Jesus' "O you of little faith"

EMPTY BOAT

Amir Bajrich | Shutterstock

Brother Silas Henderson, SDS - published on 08/12/17

What would it mean for you to get out of the boat and enter the storm?

Jesus said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”Matthew 14:25-31

What would it mean for you to get out of the boat and enter the storm?

Could it be witnessing to your faith on social media by sharing and liking posts that express our Christian commitment to justice and peace?

Is it standing up for the poor and marginalized when we put politics before people? Is it sacrificing your time and energy to do volunteer work?

What about something as simple as skipping a meal out and making a donation to a charity that serves the poor and exploited at home and abroad?

Stepping into the storm could be as simple as turning off the TV and spending a few minutes each day reading the Bible or a daily devotional or even stopping by your parish church for a few moments of quiet prayer when you’re out running errands.

There isn’t really one answer to this because each of us is called to a unique form of discipleship that makes the best use of our gifts and talents. The important thing is that you and I choose to act now, to step into the storm today.

This is a terrifying prospect and we can expect to be lashed by the wind and rain and to feel the pounding of the waves as we resist the movements of our out-of-control world. But it’s simply what we’re called to do. This is what Jesus means by “take up your cross,” this is Bonhoeffer’s “cost of discipleship” and this is the experience of those countless martyrs who have lost their lives because of their faith. But, through it all, we also trust that the Lord is there before us, in the midst of the storm with us.

Jesus’ invitation to us is to move beyond our fear and to enter the storm with the confidence that we are not alone. And so we ask for the gift of courage and for the grace to move beyond our fears, and doubts, and justifications for staying in the boat, making the words of the Psalmist our own; “I will hear what God proclaims; / the Lord—for he proclaims peace … Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, / glory dwelling in our land” (Psalm 85:9-10).

How do the words of this Psalm speak to you?What keeps you in “the boat”?How is Jesus inviting you to “come” today?

Words of Wisdom: “Jesus speaks out to us in the Gospel with very strong words. Throughout the Gospel, we hear, ‘Do not be afraid.’ This is what Gabriel says to Mary. This is what the angels say to the women at the tomb: ‘Do not be afraid.’ And that is what the Lord himself says when he appears to his disciples: ‘Do not be afraid, it is I. Do not be afraid, it is I. Fear is not of God. I am the God of love, a God who invites you to receive—to receive the gifts of joy and peace and gratitude of the poor, and to let go of your fears so that you can start sharing what you are so afraid to let go of.’”—Henri Nouwen

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