Unfazed by the request, Jesus tells him “come,” and so he does! Yet as Peter walks toward Jesus on the water, the force of the wind frightens him and he begins to sink. “Lord, save me!” he calls out, the first of countless times since that these words have been uttered in prayer! Jesus reaches out to take Peter by the hand, gently asking him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Do you believe in miracles? Thomas Jefferson, the chief architect of the Declaration of Independence, certainly didn’t! Still, he held Jesus in high esteem, writing that Jesus was responsible for “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals” ever offered.
The human being, the highest and most exalted of God’s creatures, is its own agent in determining its salvation, making use of God’s gifts of free will, rationality, and the sanctifying grace that is actively bestowed upon it. This pathway to eternal life is made accessible through the Redemptive Sacrifice of the Cross, which makes it possible for every human being, past and present, to attain eternal life.
Bishop DiMarzio’s column for the last edition of The Tablet, “The Birth of our Democracy,” spoke much truth regarding the recent calls and attempts (some successful) to tear down statues and monuments throughout the nation. He writes that “the statues that are now being taken down with public authority or by acts of individuals betray a misunderstanding of human nature. It is human nature that has been wounded by Original Sin, but it has been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. There are no perfect people.”
Realizing that we are a constant work- in-progress — and that God is merciful — lays the groundwork for receiving God’s Word as fertile ground that allows the seed to be received, nurtured with the help of God, and grown into fruit that solely gives glory to Almighty God.
Truth be told, as a late 20th-century-born Brooklynite, whenever Jesus uses farming imagery in His teaching, my mind gravitates to a television show that was always on in the Panicali household, whether in original episodes or in reruns: Little House on the Prairie.
Although this is not usually the forum for personal messages, I do want to make an exception today and wish my classmate, Fr. Dave Dettmer, the Pastor of St. Edmund’s parish in Brooklyn, a very Happy 40th Anniversary of Ordination.
Before receiving communion, as the host is elevated and the priests invite us to, “Behold the Lamb of God,” we utter the simple prayer, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” He knows our unworthiness, but we have to acknowledge it ourselves to appreciate the gift we are about to receive.
Being a people of the Eucharist, this meal is at the center of who we are as a Church. The gathering place for most families is the table and so it is within each parish family, we gather at the altar to feast on Christ’s Body and Blood.
The beginning of the Gospel this weekend should be something that people might be able to understand in these days of the pandemic. We only need to change one word and it should sound like this, “on the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the coronavirus.”