Saturday Vigil: 5:15 pm
Sunday: 7:30 am and 10:15 am

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

During these tumultuous times it is important to remind our- selves that Jesus is with us. As the storms of the Pandemic and social unrest rage around us we need to take comfort and strength from Jesus' own words to His disciples when they saw Him walking on the water, "Take courage it is I; do not be afraid." (Mt.14:27 ) The fear of the disciples when they cried out as they saw Jesus walking on the water was a significant obstacle to their faith. Jesus had to continually overcome the obstacles of faith which the disciples placed  in His way. We also place obstacles in Jesus' way which come from fear and doubt.

The obstacle of fear would affect His disciples during His public ministry, as well as during His passion, death, and resurrection. Peter's own fears would limit him in his re- sponse when Jesus told him and the other disciples to take courage. "Peter said to Him in reply, "Lord if it is you, com- mand me to come to you on the water."(Mt.14:28) Peter yearned for faith but fear and doubt became serious obsta- cles which would get in his way time and time again. He became frightened after he got out of the boat as Jesus had commanded and he then began to sink, he call out to Jesus, "Lord save me!" Jesus then stretches out His hand and saves Peter and said, "O you of little faith." He then asks Peter a question which we all should ask ourselves these days, "Why did you doubt?" We are not told what Peter an- swered, we only know that fear and doubt would be an ob- stacle and Peter would be an obstacle to Jesus fulfilling the Will of the Father. From Peters Profession of Faith in Jesus; the Passion Prediction which would follow in Matthew 16:13-23. Peter tells us who Jesus is, "The Christ the Son of the living God", and a few moments later he is being re- buked by Jesus for trying to stop His passion and death. An obstacle that became an opportunity for Jesus to teach Peter and the other Disciples, that Christ had to suffer and die and rise of the third day.

Jesus uses the miracle of His walking on water to encourage faith, by confronting fear and doubt. "Those who were in the boat did him homage, say- ing, Truly, you are the Son of God." (Matthew 14:33) Today's gospel encourages us to reflect on the obstacles that we place in the way of Jesus help- ing us in these tumultuous times. Are these obstacles similar to the obstacles Peter and the other Disciples place in the way of Jesus on His way to Calvary?

Are we filled with fear to the point that it paralyzes us as it did Peter? Do we want to pretend that the pandemic is not real or that the issues of the social unrest in our nation do not need to be addressed? We cannot stick our head in the sand hoping that all bad things in the world will just go away on its own. Af- ter all, isn't that what Peter so often tried to do?

It is important for us to remember that God is not revealed in the storms but rather God is revealed to us in the stillness and silence that comes from the storm subsiding. In the first reading from 1 Kings 19:9,11-13; the Prophet Elijah tries to escape the storms of his life and ministry by going up to Mount Horeb, but there is no escape from the storm. It is by his finally confronting the storm that he receives the calming presence of God for God was found in the tiny whispering sound.

The second reading from St. Paul's letter to the Ro- mans 9:1-5, speaks about how the people of Israel did not always have courage and their fears caused them to doubt God and thus not follow God's divine directives. Even though they did not, God's still is faithful to His covenant. St. Paul tell the Church in Rome to be faithful to Christ and to follow the Lord's Will. To do less would mean we are cutting ourselves off from God.

These stormy times call on us to proclaim the same profession of faith as our own boats are being tossed by the winds and the waves in these difficult times. Jesus calmed the waters and the wind, and the storm subsided, with that; "The disciples gave homage by saying, Truly, you are the Son of God." (Mt.14:33)

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Anthony