Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne
Sunday, 13 August 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Gospel today helps us to address the question of fear in our lives. So often we like to have everything planned, to know what is going to happen and we have a tremendous fear of the unknown. Sailors often tell me that in the dark waters where there is no moon just before dawn the very darkness can play tricks with their minds.
It is not surprising then that Peter and the apostles were in the boat and suddenly became fearful because of the wind and the rough weather. When Our Lord arrived walking on the water they were surprised and horrified. Yet Saint Peter, ever impetuous moved on by deep faith, stepped out at Jesus’ invitation also to walk on the water. Notice that it is only when he had lost sight of Jesus and turned to himself and his own fears that he started to sink.
Saint John says in his first Letter ‘perfect love casts out fear’ and this is a reminder that if our life is focussed on Jesus, even though we may have difficulties and struggles, then we will see everything in its context and be always on our journey towards what Jesus has planned for us.
The Gospel today underlines for us that we are ready to face the stormy seas of life; our financial and family burdens, the worries for people who have given up the faith, the hope that members of our family will have good health, will marry well to people whom we find acceptable, the hope that we will be successful in whatever studies or career we undertake.
The Gospel commentator, William Barclay, makes the important point: “In the hour of the disciples’ need Jesus came to them. When the wind was contrary and when life was a struggle he was there to help. No sooner had a need arisen than Jesus was there to help and save.” We know that there are times when life is a desperate struggle; with our circumstances, ourselves, our temptations, our sorrows, our decisions.
Today we want to go forward in the knowledge that none of us has to go alone because Jesus is always with us, with his hands stretched out to save and guide us. What Jesus once did in the storm far off in Palestine that he will do for us and in our lives. The words of the Alleluia Verse: “I hope in the Lord, I trust in his Word”, or of the Psalm Refrain: “Lord, show us your mercy and love and grant us your salvation”, show us convincingly that no matter what may happen to us God’s providence and care walk with us at every moment of every day. We can turn to him with confidence and hope, but we must nourish our friendship through prayer, right deeds and as the Prayer after Communion says, in being faithful to the light of God’s truth.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.