The story is told about a monastery on a cliff that could only be reached via a suspended basket that was pulled upward by the monks. A tourist who was in this scary ride noticed that the rope was old and worn-out. In a trembling voice he asked the monk who was riding with him how often the rope was changed. The monk thought for a moment, and then said: “Whenever it breaks.”
In today’s gospel (Mt. 14, 23-33), the disciples are in a very scary ride on their boat that is being tossed about by the waves. But what terrifies them more is seeing a “ghost” walking on the water toward them. What scares them is something they cannot control, and someone they do not know. We, too, are scared by the uncontrollable and the unknown. What can make us overcome our fears? It is our faith, our focus on something or someone greater than ourselves that helps us stay afloat and move on.
What made Peter sink? As long as he was focused on his Master, he was all right. When he took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on his surroundings, he started to sink. Our daily news is filled with stories of people who have become so focused on money, power, fame, and worldly pleasures, and who sooner or later sink in shame, and into oblivion. Stay focused on the Master!
I wonder what the other disciples thought when Peter made the bold request that he be allowed to walk on the water? Perhaps some of them were inspired by his courage, or were critical of his nerve. Like them, often we encourage (“Wow! What courage!”) or criticize (“The nerve of this guy!”) those who do what we do not do, or dare not do.
Of course, we also ask what moved Peter to request his Master to let him walk on the water. Was it sincere faith? Was it pride? In the same manner, we, too, must always examine ourselves why we do the things we do. God sees the heart. It is only in quiet prayer that we, too, can really see what is in our hearts.
Are you a “sinker” or a “floater”? A sinker is one who tends to go down, while a floater is one who tends to stay afloat. But a sinker can also be a person who sinks or pulls down others, and a floater can be one who keeps other people afloat. Sinkers are good in criticizing. Floaters are good in encouraging.
It was such an encouraging and inspiring event to join the Priests’ Day sponsored by St. Bridget School of Batangas City last Aug. 7. According to Fr. Nonie Dolor, this worthy tradition was started in 1981 to help students and priests get to know and help each other. On behalf of my brother priests, and on behalf of Jesus Christ, our Eternal High Priest, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your prayers, support, and understanding.
On the lighter side, I think we finally found the answer to the puzzling question: Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? San Jose, Batangas, is known as the poultry and egg capital of the Philippines. If you approach it via the old highway from Lipa to Batangas City, you will see a big egg landmark on the left side of the road. But if you are coming from Batangas City to Lipa, you will see a big chicken landmark on the right side of the road. So, it all really depends on where you are coming from.
Think about this: “Learn to give all to God — your health, your family, your friends, your work, your worries, your fears, your finances, your hopes, your frustrations, your dreams, your weaknesses, and sins. When you learn to let go, you learn to be empty, and when you are empty, you can be replenished and be refilled aplenty.”
Inviting you to join a pilgrimage to Catholic shrines in Japan on Sept. 14-23. We start in Nagasaki, where the atomic bomb was dropped in World War II, and where many Christians were persecuted. The highlight of the trip will be a visit to Akita, where the Blessed Mother has been manifesting her messages and miraculous healing since 1973. Included also is a visit to different churches and shrines in Tokyo. For inquiries, please contact Executive Resources at 5238581 to 88 or 09176311902, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or www.pilgrimage.ph
A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to stay focused on You so as not to sink and be drowned in the raging waters of this world. Amen.
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