Saturday of the Second Week of Easter

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 272


They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.



So why did they want to take Jesus into the boat and why did he decline the offer? Much has been made of this incident. 

Perhaps the disciples determined that, although he was clearly walking on the water without any apparent distress, the common-sensical thing to do is "Get in the Boat! You just can't tell how long this water-walking business will last. It's better to be safe than sorry." 

Or perhaps, they thought they might have a stronger grip on Jesus and his saving power if he were closer to them; if he were, as it were, within their grasp. That would be a win-win for everybody; we have you and you have us! 

But it appears that Jesus was satisfied with the ways things were; with his walking on the water and the disciples trailing in the boat. They could do fine so long as they stayed together and kept him in sight. Besides that, it wasn't far to land anyway. 

We are often tempted to think we know God, that we the Church have a firm grip on the Knowledge of God and, if anyone wants to know God they should come to us. 

That's not exactly untrue but the attitude is fraught with peril. Jesus reveals himself through his Church. Saint Peter could declare with enormous authority, 
"There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
The world still knows Jesus, if at all, because the Church continues to announce his Name. We do that not because we have built a fool-proof, fail-proof institution which will certainly last until the End of Time. I meet a lot of Veterans who were told that and now refuse to come to Church. It changed and they're convinced the change could only be for the worse. 

Rather we continue to announce His Name because the Spirit of God draws us together and keeps us together. 

I've been in this Franciscan Order -- Father Antonio with his Italian accent used to call it " dis-order"  -- for almost fifty years and I've seen a lot of friars -- priests and brothers -- come and go. Many are not buried in our cemetery because they left the Order despite their Vows. Many of them left both the Order and the Church and even the extended Christian community. 

You probably know a lot of people who were baptized, took first communion, were confirmed and even married and threw it all over. In many cases they sold their birthright for a bowl of pottage. 

Even if I do judge these people in my foolishness, I know my judgement means nothing to them or to God. 

My point is that the Spirit of God keeps us in the boat. It may be a spirit that whips up the waves around us and frightens us into staying in the Church while others jump overboard. Or it may be a spirit of love and affection and mutual forgiveness that enables us to actually enjoy the ride that others disdain. I don't claim to know why I am still here. 

Dear Father Matthias , when asked why he was still in vows after seventy years said, "I made my choice and I kept it!" I might say the same but I'd have to add, "-- despite my best efforts!" 

The Lord knew what he was doing when he disdained getting in the boat with his disciples. If we don't know why he did that or what he was thinking we still know what we have to do. 


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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.