August 9, 2011 by Nicole
It’s been an interesting week here over here. Earlier last week, I went to celebrate mass on Monday, which is a commitment I made and kept since returning from Lourdes to go to one extra mass every week. Anyhow, the gospel reading was from Matthew: the story of Jesus walking on water and Peter sinking into it. (Coincidentally, Sunday’s gospel was the same one.) While Father Tom gave an excellent homily on Sunday, I have to say that Fr. Marcos’ homily from last Monday was one with which I really identified because I can really relate to my man Peter.
Everyone knows the story about how the disciples see Jesus walking on the water, and how Peter asks Jesus to let him walk out to meet him. Jesus tells him to come on over, and Peter starts walking; the instant that Peter realizes he is doing this in the middle of a typhoon, he panics and starts sinking into the water and begs Jesus to help him before he drowns. Lately, every time I listen to one of the stories in which Jesus is working with his disciples, it makes me laugh a little to think of Jesus looking at the 12 of them, wanting to smack himself in the forehead, shake his head, sigh, and probably roll his eyes, thinking, Honestly, guys, have you listened to anything I have been saying to you??
The lesson of this story (courtesy of Father Marcos) is a very important one. Jesus says to Peter, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Considering that this takes place after the disciples have literally watched him feed 5000 people with nothing other than 5 loaves and 2 fish, not to mention how many other miracles, healings, and miraculous things they must have watched Jesus perform first hand, they, more than anyone, ought to have had really solid, strong faith in Jesus. They were his closest friends and spent more time with him than anyone else. And yet, their faith was incredibly weak at times. In sharp contrast, there were other people, like the woman with the hemorrhage and the centurion whose faith, like countless others, was so strong that they trusted they would experience healing if they could only touch Jesus’ cloak or know that if he commanded someone he’d never seen or met to be healed, there was no question it would be done.
As much as I wish I could say that my faith was like that woman who believed that touching the hem of Jesus’ garment was enough to make her well, I am in all reality relating much more closely to Peter right now.
As I speak, there is another potential pastor job on the line for my husband. The Skype interview went well, which in turn led a group of people from this church to come to Michigan to hear Randy preach at his church in Palo. We experienced communion in the Texas Roadhouse meal we shared on Saturday night, followed by the communion of bread and “wine” (i.e. grape juice) we shared in God’s house on Sunday morning. We also spent two hours Saturday night chatting with each other, getting to know one another, and talking about who we are as Christians, and my Catholic faith. Ostensibly, everything went well. I guess you could say that by Sunday afternoon, I was walking on water.
Now, we are waiting again to hear from the committee at the end of the week whether this church would like to continue the process, the next step of which is to invite Randy to their church to preach to their faith community. And you know what? I feel myself beginning to sink. Will they accept me even though I am a Christian who is not a Baptist? Will they be able to embrace a pastor whose wife is a committed Catholic? In spite of everything I spoke of about my deep, abiding love of God and his Son and my commitment to growing in my faith everyday, will they be able to see that we are essentially the same? That we are brothers and sisters who love and are loved by the same God and who read and are inspired by the same Word?
What all these questions amount to is one thing–like Peter, I am looking at the wind, the waves, and the storm rather than at Jesus, and I am beginning to panic. Okay, perhaps this is not the flock that God has set aside for my husband to shepherd; that part I can handle. The challenge here is to ignore the inevitable storm of worry and anxiety swirling around me and keep my eyes focused steadily on Jesus standing right in front of me, telling me to get out on the water and walk without being afraid.
There is a plan in place, and maybe this is the long awaited answer to my continued prayer for my husband’s calling as a preacher, then again, maybe it’s not. Either way, the important thing is to continue to have faith that God is shaping me for something important, and according to what I read in the Bible, super-duper awesome at the end of all this waiting. 🙂