Courage! It Is I, Do Not Be Afraid

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NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle A/Year I (August 13, 2017)
1 Kgs 1:9, 11-13/Rom 9:1-5/Mt 14:22-33

Christian life is indeed not an easy life. It is a life of a constant battle against the things that may weaken our faith in the Lord. And usually, our faith is tested by the many problems that come into our lives. Big or little our problem maybe, yet it certainly affects not only our way of living but also our way of believing. How much more when we are in crisis? We will certainly lose our peace of mind and our faith will definitely be shaken. We maybe a person whose marriage is in danger to be broken, a person whose child or parent is seriously ill, a person who is desperately looking for someone to love us and be loved, a person whose ambitions and plans in life seem only to end in dreams and illusions, a person who is a victim of injustice and dishonesty, a person who lacks the basic necessities due to the graft and corruption in the government and the irresponsibility and lack of conscience on the part of the government leaders and officials, and so on. When we are a person in crisis as such, it is impossible never to panic like Peter who panicked when he noticed the big waves and strong winds and he began to sink on the waters.

On the other hand, we have to remember that Christian life is not simply limited to our earthly affairs. It is more on our fidelity to Christ. We become faithful to Christ when we live his teachings and the teachings of the Church, avoiding evil and sins and doing always the things that will glorify his name. But then there are times when, without the intention of degrading our catholic faith, we cling to our superstitious belief, horoscopes, fortune-tellers, quack-faith healers, Feng Sui, “Anting-anting” and others. We simply feel that our faith in Christ is not enough and that it is still better to hang on to other beliefs perhaps to ease our conscience or to assure our fate and salvation. When we are in such kind of situation, certainly we are again like Peter drowning on the sea for lack of faith in Christ.

Amidst the strong winds, the disciples became calm and Peter walked on the sea because Jesus told them: “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid!” and “Come! (Mt 14:29)”.We, too, are Disciples of Christ and we have been given the assurance of the powerful presence of Christ ever since we received gift of faith in him especially through the Sacrament of Baptism. Christ knows that the life here on earth is full of pains and sufferings and that our faith in him will certainly be always tested. But he never abandons us just as he did not abandon his disciples on the boat amidst the storm in the lake. The storms of life may shake us but Christ is always there to protect us. What we only have to do is to develop a great faith in him and be courageous enough to face the challenges and trials in life. We will overcome all these problems only and only if we never lose our eyesight and faith in Christ. When Peter lost his sight on the Lord and instead focused on the storm, he began to sink.

We Christians should always be focused on Christ. Being his followers, we must only learn from him and do our best to neither desire learning from other beliefs nor try living their faiths. Jesus Christ has said: “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart. (Mt 11:19)” This means that we have to entrust our whole selves and lives to Jesus Christ as our Master, Lord and Savior since there is no other name higher than his name. As the scripture says: “All beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus” (Phil 2:10). We must then never doubt the power of having faith in the name of Jesus. We must be courageous enough to live our faith in him amidst the problems and tribulations in life. Only those who never falter in faith, those whose only attention is in the Lord, those amidst the sufferings of life remain faithful in Christ will never sink but rather walk with confidence and peace on sea of life’s difficulties because Christ is the One who comforts them.