Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Jeremiah 30:1-2.12-15.18-22; Matthew 14:22-36)

With the war in Syria spreading the Christian minority lives in fear. Not long along the Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo told how Christians fear anarchy if government troops are defeated. It is a terrible situation as the rebels, who have gained international support, see Christians as government allies. Like Peter in today’s gospel Syrian Christians’ faith in Jesus is being tested to the limit.

The scene is said to be symbolic. The boat of disciples is the Church; the night, evil; the storm, a particular crisis. Jesus is behind the scenes ready to assist his followers in need. The disciples question their faith, “It is a ghost,” they fear. But Jesus reassures them, “It is I”; literally, the great “I AM.” Peter, always the first to speak up, seeks to go toward Jesus amidst the chaos. But then he succumbs to fear and desperately calls out for help. Jesus does not deny assistance, but when things calm down, he reprimands Peter along with the others, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

We too are not full of faith. When times grow rough, we are likely to question whether God is there to help us. Perhaps it will be in pain on our death beds. At such moments it is critical that we do not abandon our faith by taking a desperate measure like euthanasia. Rather, like Peter, we need to continue calling on the Lord. Like him, we will feel his saving help.