Readings for Tuesday August 3, 2010
First Reading: Jeremiah 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 102
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. 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?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” (Mt 14:22-33)
In sports, every athlete knows the importance of being focused. In a football game, a player must stay focused on their assignment and what is happening around them, lose focus for a second and the play passes you by. In a basketball game, a player must stay focused or otherwise they may make bad passes and shots. In a race, a runner must stay focused on their form and their pace, otherwise they will not finish the race as well. This ability to focus is one that is not just important in athletics, but in life as well.
Saint Peter learned a valuable lesson on focusing in today's gospel reading. Here we have Jesus walking on the water, a truly miraculous event in itself; when Peter, who is always eager to speak up, sees Jesus and says "Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Jesus tells him to come, and then Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk on the water towards Jesus. Now as Peter was walking on the water, he looked over at the storm and lost his focus, this is when he began to sink. You see, before, Peter was focused on Jesus, the source of all his abilities and strength; when he looked away and lost focus, he began to concentrate on his fear. This is the lesson that we each can learn from Peter and today's gospel: when we lose our focus on God, that is when we begin to fall and sink.
Keeping our focus on God is so important in life, because when we only look to Him, we can become everything we were created to be; but when we focus on the world, then we give in to our limitations and fears. Focus on Christ, who is there letting us know that He is always there and that there is no need to fear when He is around.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all of your great blessings and gifts in this life. Lord, help us to be good stewards of our lives, gifts and abilities. Help us to take nothing for granted, but to always be thankful for what we have. Lord, help us to focus solely on you and on your love and mercy. Let us not look to worldly things for our purpose, but only to seek our purpose in you. You are our God, and we are your people, may our lives be a reflection of you at all times. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.