Gospel text (Jn 6,16-21):
When evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing. They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and he was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but He said to them, «It is Me; don't be afraid». They wanted to take him into the boat, but immediately the boat was at the shore to which they were going.
«It is Me; don't be afraid»
Fr. Vicenç GUINOT i Gómez
(Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)
Today, Jesus disconcerts us. We were used to a Redeemer who, attentive to all kinds of human destitution, would not doubt to have recourse to his divine power. In fact, this happens just after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed a large hungry crowd. But now, instead, He disconcerts us with a miracle —to walk over the waters— that looks very much like Jesus was just playing to the gallery. Certainly not! Jesus had already discarded using his divine power to look for personal sparkle or profit when, at the beginning of his mission, He refused to be tempted by the Evil one.
By walking over the waters, Jesus Christ is showing his mastery of all things created. We might, however, also see a dramatization of his dominion over the Evil one, represented by the dark and stormy sea.
«Don't be afraid» (Jn 6:20), Jesus told them on that occasion. «But take heart! I have overcome the world» (Jn 16:33), He will tell them after the Last Supper. Lastly, it is Jesus who, that Paschal morning, told the women after He rose from the tomb: «Don't be afraid». Through the testimony of the Apostles, we are aware of Jesus' victories over man's enemies, sin and death. This is why, today, his words resound in our heart with special strength, as they are the words of Someone who is alive.
The same words Jesus addressed Peter and the Apostles, were repeated by John Paul II, Peter's successor, at the beginning of his papacy: «Don't be afraid». It was a call to open our hearts, our own existence, to the Redeemer so that with him we are not afraid to face the attacks of Christ's enemies.
Before our personal frailness to successfully carry out the missions the Lord has asked us to do (a vocation, an apostolic project, a service...), we may console ourselves just knowing that the Virgin Mary —after all a creature like ourselves— also heard the same words from the angel before facing the mission which the Lord had entrusted her with. Let us learn from her to accept Jesus' invitation every day, in every circumstance.