Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

To the ancient people, the seas represented chaos. Fishermen and sailors, then, as well as now, know all too well the sudden turmoil caused by rough waters. But God conquered the seas. And Jesus walked on the water. In fact, He continues to walk on water. He walks on the chaos of our lives[1].

That is what the Gospel reading is telling us today. No matter what the chaos is in the world and in our lives, Jesus walks on it. He conquers the chaos.

Jesus conquers the chaos that is caused by things that our beyond our control. Life itself is chaotic. Just when all is seems to be calm, a loved one suddenly dies. All of us have experienced this. We did not cause the chaos, but we do suffer from it.

Jesus conquers the chaos, even that chaos which we ourselves cause in our lives. Many of us have made bad choices. Many of us have sinned. Many of us suffer the results of our sins or the sins of others. For example a person finally recognizes that he has gotten into a relationship which is destroying his family and destroying himself. He returns to his family, but the damage has been done. He and his family suffer the results of his sins.

It makes no difference whether we caused the chaos or whether we suffer from the chaos caused by others. Jesus still walks on the water. He conquers the chaos. Then, do you know what he does? He calls us to walk out onto the chaos and walk towards him. Come Peter. Peter walked on the water. At least for a bit.

That’s what Jesus does for us all. He walks on the chaos of our lives, and then calls us to come and join him. He gives us the strength to walk on water.

And what if we fail? What if we blink, and sink like Peter did? Well, Don’t be afraid, the Lord says. He is there to reach down and lift us out of the water, out of the chaos, just as he lifted Peter out of the water, out of the chaos of his life.

The Lord knows that we are not saints, not yet anyway. He knows that we are weak. He accepted Peter, that loud lout, that well meaning coward, and turned him into the Rock of the Church[2]. He takes us as we are and walks with us on the water. He only asks us to have the courage to put our faith in Him. He gives us the strength to join Him in conquering the chaos.

Where is the chaos in your lives, in my life? Is it sickness or death? Is it chemical dependence? Is it some other addiction? Is it turmoil in your marriage or your family? Where have the seas raised up to chaotic dimensions? Wherever that chaos is, please remember, that there is nothing, no chaos that is too great for Jesus to conquer. And there is nothing too devastating for us to conquer with Him.

He walked on the waters, and He calls us to walk with Him ■

[1] Readings: Psalm 85:9-14. Kings 19:9, 11-13; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33
[2] Cfr Mt 16: 18

Illustration: At one end of the Bay in San Sebastian at the foot of Mount Igeldo was where Eduardo Chillida placed his favourite piece of work, the Wind Comb, in 1977, with three spectacular pieces of steel anchored to the rocks and surrounded by the sea. Thirty years later, Donostia-San Sebastián is celebrating the anniversary of this magical space, which is a unique example of harmony between art and landscape. The Chillida-Leku Museum, the main institutions in the Basque Country (Hernani Town Council, Donostia-San Sebastián Town Council, Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and the Basque Government) and various Basque cultural bodies are finalising the programme of activities based around the Wind Comb that will be taking place during 2007 and which will include exhibitions, lectures, concerts and entertainment, guided tours and educational activities.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris