gospel reflection

The Safety of the Church

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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.

Fr John

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