NINETEENTH SUNDAY A HOMILY 2020, by Fr. Matthias Lusembo


Let us stay focused on Jesus for without him we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). Actually, without him we can drown. In today’s gospel text (Mt 14:22-33), Peter tells Jesus: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus responds: “Come.” Peter begins to walk on the water. But when he moves his focus from Jesus to the strong wind, he gets frightened and begins to sink.

That is what happens to many of us. When we turn our focus from Jesus to abuses in the Church, or to the problems we are facing, we begin to doubt and to question our faith, our future, our relationships, the meaning of our lives and so on. Then we become anxious, distressed, worried, less prayerful and lonely. Some of us may develop anger, hatred, restlessness. Some even go to the extreme of suicide. All because of losing focus on Jesus, the Co-Creator, Manager of Nature and Savior of the World.  

Remember what happened to the apostles who had believed that they would cross that small lake without Jesus. The Gospel says that it was during the fourth watch of the night, when the disciples had sailed just a few miles offshore that Jesus went toward them.

The fourth watch of the night was between three a.m. and six a.m. So from evening when Jesus sent them off till morning, the disciples were in the boat that was being tossed about by the waves. Even if many of them had been fishermen on the same lake, they failed to control the waves and cross that small lake of 13 by 8 miles. Why? Why did Jesus send them alone on that lake/sea which was renowned for sudden storms and evil forces?

One could simply answer that Jesus wanted to first dismiss the crowds and go to the mountain to pray, because this is what the Gospel says literally. But Jesus could have easily done this with His disciples. A serious exegesis would connect the multiplication of Loaves of bread, Christ’s prayer on the mountain, His walk on water, the calming of the lake, the salvation of Peter from drowning and the healings on the other side of the lake.

 All these reveal the intervention of divine power, which not only created nature but can also control it in a way that mere humans cannot. Since this power was working through Jesus, he wanted to prove to His disciples that He is the promised Messiah, the Master of nature; that without divine assistance humans will fight endless battles and eventually drown in them.

Psalm 89:9-10 confirms thus: “Lord God of Hosts, who is like you? Mighty Lord, your loyalty is always present. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.”

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ, we cannot master nature perfectly without remaining connected with God its creator. As Jesus remained connected to His Father through prayer and was consequently able to control it perfectly, we need to remain connected and focused on God.

When we encounter difficulties, we should persevere in calling upon God like St. Peter did; Jesus will come at His own right time and hold our hand so that we do not drown in those difficulties. Christ comes to us in the Holy Eucharist and feeds us with His body and blood so that we may remain connected to the divine power of God. Let us continue to receive him and to trust Him in our prayers so that we may succeed in life and be with Him forever in Heaven. Let us stay focused on Jesus!