Why did the chicken cross the play ground ? To get to the other side…
There is a question attached to our gospel today – what were Jesus and the disciples doing out on that boat ? We may ask, why did Jesus and the disciples cross the sea? The answer is given in the verses that follow our Gospel today (14:34-36). They tell us that they wanted to get to the other side to minister to the people there.
Remember that the semitic people had a fear of large bodies of water. This made the boat a symbol of safety – of refuge. At the end of this incident in which Peter fails in his attempt to walk on water, Jesus himself joins the disciples in the boat. A ship or a boat was one of the earliest symbols for Christianity, and this story indicates why it was attractive: when surrounded by adversity, safety and salvation are experienced in the Church with Jesus in its midst.
Perhaps this is a reminder that trying to ‘go it alone’ on our lives of faith is fraught with danger. But remember that a boat is not a static symbol. It is a vehicle used to get somewhere. Let’s accept that to be in the boat with Jesus is to be on a missionary journey to spread the good and liberating news of the Gospel.