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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

Matthew 14:22-33

“Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)

As I sit down to write this Gospel reflection, the concept of human memory pervades my mind. Towards the end of our Gospel today, Jesus asks Peter how he could doubt him and his power. Peter began to walk on water and it was only when he took his eyes off of Jesus and paid attention to the wind that he began to sink.

Just before getting into the boat, Jesus had fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fish. Did Peter not remember that? Perhaps even more amazingly, he forgot about Jesus standing there right in front of him in the midst of the storm!

Paralleling Peter’s forgetfulness, it had completely slipped my mind that I needed to write this Gospel reflection until a friend told me they were looking forward to reading it. This forgetting happened even though I was taking notes as to what I thought I’d write about less than 36 hours before.

Even the homily from the Mass I attended earlier today reflected on this as the priest said that human beings forget easily. That is why the church brings forth feasts and liturgical seasons yearly so that we have cause to reflect and remember them, lest we forget the good things God has done for us.

But even when we forget or get distracted by the world, what we do remember can save us. It is Peter’s “little faith” that allows him to call out, “Lord, save me!” and he is immediately saved by Jesus. After the Resurrection, Peter can proclaim with certainty: “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Jesus cares for us, and he calls us to trust in him and have great faith. Even when we falter, with little faith we can walk on water and call upon the Lord to save us and pull us up back to him if we begin to sink.

Let us follow Jesus’ lead at the beginning of the Gospel, when–between ministering to the people he fed and ministering to the disciples in the storm–he fosters his relationship with God by praying alone. Reflecting on all that’s happened, he in turn receives consolation and strength to continue on his journey.



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