Take Courage!

August 8, 2017 – Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Dominic, Priest

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.

 

Reflect: 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; Peter’s first inclination is to trust Jesus’ invitation by walking on the water toward the Lord; but he becomes frightened by the conditions surrounding him, so he begins to sink. Regardless, Jesus hears Peter’s cry, “Lord, save me!” In contrast, the people of Gennesaret recognize Jesus and they trust that he will heal their sick if only by touching “the tassel on his cloak.” Throughout his time among the apostles, Jesus’ message, in one way or the other, remained the same: “Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Jesus is constantly reminding us of the same. He understands that we are often overwhelmed and frightened by the reality of the world. We want to trust him and walk in faith, but we can become easily distracted or tripped up. Regardless, if we say but the word, “Lord, save me!” he hears us and will respond. May Jesus give us the gift of faith to recognize him, and the courage to keep our eyes fixed on him regardless of the current that might buffet us on every side.

Questions: What are the strong winds that might distract me from keeping my eyes on Jesus? How can I better prepare myself to be strong and faithful so that I can trust Jesus regardless of life’s circumstances?  How might Jesus be inviting me to step out in faith so that I can honor him as the Son of God?

Pray: Loving God, my life is in your hands. Show me the way to you so that in all ways and at all times I might trust you. In trusting you, may my life proclaim you as Lord without wavering.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Dominic: Pray for us!

Dominic de Guzman was born in 1170 in Calaruega, Spain, and as a young man entered the Augustinian Canons. While preaching against the Albigensian heresy in France, however, he saw the need for solid preachers of the Gospel who would be fortified by study, strengthened by prayer, and confirmed in poverty. The men who followed Dominic in the new form of religious life became known as the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans. Upon approving the new religious order, Pope Honorius III looked to the Dominicans as “the future champions of the faith and the true lights of the world.” Dominic died in 1221 surrounded by his friars. He was canonized in 1234.

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