Walk On Water
FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
MATTHEW 14: 22-33
August 13, 2017
Jesus tells his disciples to go to the other side of the lake in their boat. The other side symbolizes going from the flesh and blood, limited, human, earthly side of ourselves, over to the spiritual, transcendent, side beyond space and time. To go from one side to the other one must go through the storms of transition. The storm is the doubt that there is anything else but the mundane, daily routine, or there is the fear of entering into another dimension in which we do not have control. But there is a natural attraction for the transcendent. We came from it before conception and we return to it, hopefully, enlightened, beyond the door of death.
The disciples begin the crossing. The storms come up and they are having a tough time of it. The spiritual journey can seem daunting at times. It can seem like more than our frail and limited bodies and brains can handle and comprehend. But God goes with us, and at some point will reveal in an unexpected and new way, the Presence. This is Jesus walking on the water. Fear grips the disciples, but Peter dares to get out of the boat. This symbolizes one who senses that there is a deeper dimension to us, the “walk on water” dimension that will bring us to union with God, deeper than thoughts, images, worship and dogma. Peter is assured that he can do it. He is invited to enter into the new dimension. His spirit is capable. All he needs is confidence and trust.
He walks on water. Then he allows himself to become attached to his fears of the storm that comes with all crossing into the numinous. “Save me,” is the shout of all of us when we feel life drowning us. We feel powerless, and indeed, succumbing to our fears, we are powerless. When Jesus gets into the boat, the disciples calm down with the calming of the storm. They feel safe, as do many people who go to church. They worship and proclaim faith as a dogma. “You are the Son of God,” they say. Many believers would prefer the safety of church ritual, and dogma, rather than the journey into the stormy