"Take Courage, It Is I; Do Not Be Afraid"
“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
As I pray with this Gospel account, I contemplate each part of it, entering into the story as if I too were with Peter and the other disciples in their boat. As they set off, the wind begins to rise, rocking their boat. In the heart of the night, as the wind tosses the disciples’ boat, Jesus comes “toward them walking on the sea.” I sense the fear that comes upon Peter and the disciples, but Jesus comforts and strengthens them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Jesus does not scold Peter for his fear, but simply calls to him, “Come,” thus inviting him to a deeper trust in Jesus and in his word. Peter leaves the security of his boat to follow Jesus. But when Peter takes his gaze off Jesus and looks around at the waves, seeing how strong the wind is, he starts to sink. But even in the midst of his panic and fear, Peter again turns his attention to Jesus, the only one who can save him. As soon as Peter cries out to Jesus, the Gospel tells us that “immediately” and without hesitation, “Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter.”
This encounter allows Peter and the other disciples on the boat to more clearly recognize Jesus as the Son of God. But what about me? Just like Peter, how often I want proof: Is it really you, Jesus? Are you really with me? Jesus invites me also to deepen my faith in him, in whom we meet a God who loves us so much that he became one of us. He continues to come to me and to each of us today, in the midst of the darkest storms of life.
Jesus, you know about all the storms in my life, all the uncertainties, trials, and suffering that I and those I love are going through. You know about all the fears and doubts I hold within, and how small and hopeless I am before them all. When I feel overwhelmed and afraid, and when I struggle to believe you are with me, help me to take courage from the knowledge that you are always with me. May I behold the greatness of your love that works with more power and beauty than I can imagine.
“Be still and confess that I am God!” (Ps 46:11)
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 24–25). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.