This Sunday’s gospel is one of my favorites. All of us have been in Peter’s situation at one point or another in our lives. We have experienced moments when we felt pushed around by the winds and waves of daily life. Moments when we were affected by life’s storms such as stress at work, marriage or personal challenges, financial hardship, family difficulties, sickness etc…
On a spiritual level, this gospel offers us 4 essentials for prayer, fostering our relationship with God amid the chaos and storms of life.
Solitude-The gospel mentions that after Jesus ministered to the people, he “went up on the mountain by himself to pray”. Our Lord got away from work for a bit and made time to connect with the Father. Throughout his life, Jesus taught his followers that Christian life must have a balance of action and prayer. He also taught that Christian life includes community prayer and personal prayer. In order to foster our personal relationship with God we also need solitude. We need a break from the busyness of our routines and make time for God. To spend time perhaps offering certain prayers to God like novenas, rosaries, or other devotions even for just 10 minutes. Perhaps we can open a bible at home and read the gospels or just sit in silence to reflect on where God may be active in my life. To ask God for mercy, help, and strength to become a saint. Solitude is a key for fostering our relationship with God.
Courage– “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” Jesus’ words invite us to never be afraid to reach out to him in life. Maybe we have committed certain sins and we feel unworthy to approach God or feel how someone else could ever forgive us or love us for who we are. The good news though is that we are loved by God. It is never too late to turn back to him with all our hearts. Each day Jesus invites us to have courage, He is Emmanuel which means “God is with us”. In our prayer life, we should never be discouraged from seeking the Lord. He tells us to be courageous and call out to Him daily.
Focus-“Lord save me!” Peter’s story is our story too. We try our best to follow Christ, yet when experience the strong winds of life, our problems, challenges, struggles, we feel like we are sinking to death. A priest friend of mine shared that when Peter’s focus shifted from Jesus to the winds and waves on the water, that was the moment he began to sink. He lost focus of Christ and paid more attention to the storm. The gospel offers us a spiritual lesson here. We all face life’s challenges and they are not easy. However, prayer gives us the opportunity to place our focus and attention on Jesus. He alone can save us and bring about healing, peace, and joy to any situation. Focus on Jesus.
Homage– “those who were in the boat did him homage, saying ‘Truly you are the Son of God” The last part of the gospel reminds us that prayer is fundamentally worshipping God. We are all in the boat of the church and our prayer certainly involves petition. We ask God for our daily bread, for forgiveness, and to help loved ones. However, prayer teaches us that we cannot do everything alone. We need God and depend on His providence. To some, prayer may seem like an absolute waste of time. However, as believers we know that it is truly right and just to give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received. When we pray, we give God homage!