Readings for Tuesday August 4, 2009
Memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney, priest
First Reading: Numbers 12:1-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He 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?” (Matt 14:27-31)
"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" I am sure that after hearing this Peter had several excuses running through his head: "It was the wind, it looked so strong," "the storm looked like it was coming right for me," or "Last year I was in a storm like this and things didn't end up so well for me." We, like Peter, always seem to find something that makes us hold back and hesitate in trusting God completely. We are always eager to enthusiastically follow Christ at first, but when things get tough and push comes to shove, we begin to really doubt.
So, how do we deal with this pesky problem of doubting? I mean, there has to be a way to get beyond this right? Well, I think that we can take a good lesson from two different people. First, Saint Peter, who we read of in today's gospel. Even though his early years were spent fumbling around, He opened himself up to the Lord and let the spirit in so that he began to follow Christ courageously. Peter not only allowed Christ to lift him up physically (as in out of the water), but also spiritually. By coming to acknowledge and give in to his love for Christ, Peter was able to let go of his fear of the world and embrace the path which the Lord set for him.
The other person of which we can learn much from is Saint John Vianney (patron saint of all priests). Saint John Vianney was previously known as patron saint of parish priests, but as Pope Benedict proclaimed this the year of the priests, Saint John Vianney is now patron saint of allVianney had many storms to weather in his life as well. Although feeling a strong calling to the priesthood, he struggled through school and in his studies. I am sure that he doubted many times his vocation, but he must have had trust in the Lord to continue on. Saint John Vianney was finally ordained a priest and began to allow his passion and zeal for the Lord catch on with all those he came in contact with. John Vianney was also known as a great confessor, and people came from miles around just to spend time with him in the Sacrament of Confession. It is said that he spent up to 18 hours each day hearing confessions.
There are many stories of people both past and present who show us that we can and should trust in the Lord at all times. We can also take a look back on our lives whenever we are in doubt and see how the Lord has worked in our own lives. So the next time the storm hits, we can stand strong in the Lord, no matter where we are at.
Father above we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord we pray for forgiveness for the times in which we have doubted. Lord, we know that you always look after each of our needs, and we know that you can be trusted above all things. Lord, we pray for all of our priests, that they may stay strong in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen. priests. Saint John