Scripture being the Living Word of God means that what is written about God’s people at a certain place and time also speaks to people in all places and in all times. This is why it is so important as a Christian to contemplate Scripture daily.
One example is the Gospel story from Matthew (14:25-33) in which Jesus walks on water. This Scripture story brings much encouragement and hope in how to live our Catholic faith in these tumultuous times. The story takes us to the evening of the day Jesus performed the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes. We read that Jesus came toward the Apostles on the fourth watch. Let’s contemplate these four watches and be encouraged in how to live faithfully as a Catholic today.
First Watch of Encouragement: Jesus prays for us.
Then he (Jesus) made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, 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.
Scripture tells us that thanks to his Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, Jesus continues to pray to the Father on our behalf, There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all, (1 Tim 2:5-6).
Second Watch of Encouragement: No storm is stronger than Jesus.
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.
Since its beginning at Pentecost, the Church has weathered storms of persecution from without and winds of division from within. What we are currently experiencing is not unprecedented in the Church, but it is for us, and this makes us terrified. We are being bashed by seismic cultural and political upheavals hitting us from outside, and from within, by winds of division between factions entrusted with securing the foundation of Catholic doctrine. We are losing our footing and fear the Church is sinking. Many Catholics are jumping ship, confused whether Jesus is still with us or if he has become a ghost from a time now past.
At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
As Jesus did earlier that day feeding thousands from five loaves and two fishes, he continues to do so spiritually feeding millions every day at Holy Mass through the miracle of Transubstantiation: transforming bread and wine into His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
Third Watch of Encouragement: Jesus always comes!
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.
In the midst of the winds that tossed the Apostles about, Jesus is sure-footed, clear-eyed and walking on the water toward them. The Gospel tells us to be brave in steadfast faith in the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the rock of Peter, And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it, (Mt 16:18-19).
Saint José María Escrivá advises,
“You must love, venerate, pray and mortify yourself for the Pope, and do so with greater affection each day. For he is the foundation-stone of the Church and, throughout the centuries, right to the end of time, he carries out among men that task of sanctifying and governing which Jesus entrusted to Peter.”
Fourth Watch of Encouragement: Jesus is always with us!
But when he (Peter) 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?”
From Peter to Francis, 266 popes have steered the Church. This authority has been bestowed on men of varying degrees of holiness; some were weak, some were corrupt, some were heroic. Peter shows us that despite his weakness in faith, Jesus does not revoke his authority to lead the Church.
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.”
The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ; Jesus will always come because Jesus is always with us. He will not allow the Church to sink nor stray off the course of his Divine Will.
Kings and presidents, cultures and civilizations, popes and bishops, men and women of strong and weak faith, have and will come and go; the Church remains steadfast in Jesus Christ through time and storms.
Let us resolve to do the same. Take courage!
Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, as a writer, Missionary of Hope, Prayer Intercessor, Speaker Team member, and Volunteer for Pilgrim Center of Hope.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.