Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday: There Is Always the Virtue of Hope

The two readings for today's liturgy do have a common thread.  While Jeremiah does not hesitate to remind the people that the sins of the past both their own and their predecessors brought about the circumstances that have been so painful for the "chosen" ones.  Yet, it is also in the words of this same 30th chapter that the prophet initiates words of genuine hope for the suffering people.

In the words of Jesus presented to us by Matthew, we watch a group of frightened men trying to make their way through the huge waves of a stormy sea.  In a strange event Jesus appears but is not recognized by the disciples until he says "ego eimi" -- It is I AM.  Immediately they called out your are the Lord.

Immediately, so it seems, the waters calm, the waves rest.  There is peace on the sea.  Peter, impetuous as usual, leaves the boat to go out to Jesus, not Peter the swimmer but Peter the man walking on the water ... until he began to fear, losing his confidence in Jesus.  Jesus obviously grabs his hands and together they walk on the water to the disciples.  Imagine how stunned they must have been.

A true challenge to us today is to trust in Jesus as object of our hope.  He is the one who will lead us to the Father.  He is the one who will grab our hands when we feel that we are drowning.  It is that experience many of us may encounter when the circumstances of our lives seem to be taller than six foot waves, beating against our own boats.

These readings invite attention to how much we trust God.  Both readings offer us the "blessed assurance" that Jesus indeed is mine when I trust in him.  Many of us do not see the actual sunrise each morning.  However, we are usually aware of the brightening of the day because somewhere behind the trees nearby or the buildings around us there is a new day, a new sun.  For us there is both the invitation and the affirmation to experience Jesus present in our lives.