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19th Sunday A


I saw this airplane promo ad in the newspapers and so I bought a very cheap ticket to Boracay, that world famous beach in Aklan. One the day I travelled, I realized why the fare was so low. It was typhoon season. I was afraid the flight would be cancelled. But I became more afraid when I was in the boat going to the island. The sea was rough, waves were huge and rains poured down on my face. I thought I would spend my vacation at the bottom of the sea.

Today’s gospel shows us the disciples riding a boat and trying to cross to the other shore. But it was not an easy trip they had. There was no storm but they couldn’t cross because of hostile winds. The winds were so strong the boat was being tossed in the middle of the sea.

There are many symbols in this narrative. The disciples refer to all of us who are journeying in life. The boat reminds us of the boat of Peter, the barque of Peter that carries the disciples – the Church. As member of the Church, as followers of Jesus, our journey is not always smooth. There are contrary winds on the sea. We encounter many problems along the way. These cause us to fear.

As the disciples were fearful for their lives, today fear is also so intensely near to us, so real, so palpable. Going through life is like treading through an ocean of fears. Just last week, living so close to this notorious river, we were afraid that floods might hit our place again. People kept watch and couldn’t sleep well. People prayed that the storm will not bring destructive floods again.

And flood is not our only fear. What else are you afraid of? Some people are afraid that they might not have the things they need to survive. Others are afraid that the relationships they labored to build will come crushing down due to misunderstandings and fights. There are those who are afraid of dying or being left alone or being forgotten. We are afraid for the most material and the most spiritual crises that can occur in our lives.

The gospel is not about fear at all. The lesson of the gospel today is not about Christians huddling together paralyzed by anxieties. There is a very encouraging moment when Jesus appears to the disciples walking on the water. He walks towards them to assure them that he is always near when we need him. He walks on the water to show that all our fears are beneath his feet. He is the victorious one who will deliver us all.

What are your fear, your anxieties and worries? Jesus is Lord because his victory passes on to our lives when we recognize him, call out to him and take his hand. Jesus walked on the water because that is who he really is, the Savior of the world.

But do you trust Jesus enough to allow him to deliver you from your fears? Some of us never make it to shore because we lack confidence in the Lord. Let us focus not on the angry winds but on the Lord walking towards us with outstretched arms.