The Walking on the Water
I remember hearing a story of a man who was at sea alone in a small boat. A storm arose, battered the little boat and threatened to overwhelm it. The man prayed. Then he distinctly saw Jesus coming toward him, walking on the waters. Remembering the story from the gospel, he cried out, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus answered. So the man put on a life jacket, stepped over the boat’s gunwale, stepped onto the churning water and walked to Jesus. Jesus said to him, “Why did you doubt my word, O man of little faith?” “Lord, I did not doubt your word!” the man protested. “Then why the life preserver,” Jesus asked. “Oh, that!” the man replied: “that was just in case.”
Fear cripples us. In today’s gospel the disciples are terrified of the storm even if they are seasoned fishermen. They are more terrified when they see a ghost! The worse of all they even consider Jesus, a ghost. But when Jesus tells them that it is He, St. Peter wants to walk on the water with Jesus. He is already taking a few steps when suddenly he notices that he starts to sink. He starts to sink because when instead of focusing himself to Jesus, he focuses on the wind. He starts to sink when his attention is not on Jesus but on the strong wind. He looks down instead of looking up on God. This is also what happens to us when we less focus on Jesus and give more focus on our problems and difficulties.
Just like this experience of my mine with my father. We went to the mountain forest in order to find rattan for our chairs. We passed by difficult ways of going there until we reach a dead deep creek. In order to go to the other side of the dead creek we have to pass by a hanging bridge by which we have to hold on to the vines on both sides of the hanging bridge. My father was the first to pass by that hanging rope. It was my turn to pass also when suddenly the thought of falling crossed my mind. I was trembling. I didn’t know what to do until my father told me: “Don’t look down, look up!” the moment I started to look up into the sky and sometimes looked at the vine that I held to. All of a sudden I reached the other side. I was so happy.
Don’t look down, look up to God. Don’t look at our storms of problems and difficulties but let us focus on Jesus. Let us fix our eyes only on Jesus. Somebody said: “The natural temptation is to focus on the difficulties, on the wind and the waves, on the sense of not being in control. Fix your heart and your will on Christ. Trust in the strength and power of his saving hand. He will not let you down. If he has called you to a certain work, to a certain way of being, to a greater level of faith, he will give you the graces necessary.” But how many of us prefer to use anting-anting (amulet) rather than trusting the Lord? How many of us have our religious articles, crucifixes and medals be blessed hoping to ward off the evil that would crawl the streets outside our homes during darkness?
Where do we put my faith? Do we put it in anting-anting, in superstitions, in candles and miracles or in God? Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes also He lets the storm rage and calms His child.