Commentary of Fr. Jesús Fernández to the Gospel of August 9, XIX Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mt 14,22-23)
Today’s Gospel speaks mainly of faith. Christ is asking and asking us to have faith in Him. Faith also means trust and means faithfulness to Him. Walking on a surface where we can sink into external and internal difficulties produces anguish, produces fear, produces insecurity and a kind of emptiness. We need permanent bonds, that is, trust in someone, faith and strength to resist so many setbacks in life.
Christ is the only one who can save us and free us from the many fragilities and anguish of our life. We need to grow, but above all we need to believe in the effective presence of Christ in us. Faith transforms us and links us to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We need the hand of Christ as Peter needed it in today’s Gospel, so as not to sink into this very fragile life where we so often lose support.
When we are, for example, swimming in the sea and very high waves rise with currents that drag us down and we begin to swallow a lot of water, then we feel drowning and the fear that paralyzes us and makes us sink more and more. Our anguish makes us look for some rock, however small, to be able to lean firmly and rest. That rock is Christ in our daily life.
In the Gospel we read, “Lord help me, I am drowning,” and Christ will say to us, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt? It is true that Christ finally gives us his hand so that we do not sink, as he did with Peter. Let us ask Christ that we never stray from Him, behind the veil of the visible, faith divines the eternal truth, the victory of Christ. Faith produces that atmosphere of divine life in us. Faith helps us to hope in spite of all human obstacles.
St. Paul says that: “Abraham drew strength from his faith, he hoped against all hope”, we read that in Rom 4:18-20. The Gospel rests on faith. To doubt is to become weak, is to drown in the problems of every day. That’s why Christ tells us in the Gospel: “Man of little faith, why have you doubted? Christ attributes to the faith of the sick the miracle of their healing. Is he not going to heal us of so many problems that we have?
Faith is to move great obstacles, “faith is to move mountains” says Christ and at another time he tells us: “To him who believes all things are possible” (Mk 9:24). “Let us have the faith of something as small as a mustard seed and nothing, nothing would be impossible”, It also says so in Mt 17:20. We must go through all our problems with faith. This faith gives us strength, it gives us courage, it gives us generosity, it gives us confidence in Christ.
Faith requires charity. St. Paul says it in his letter to charity: “Faith works through charity. As soon as Christ got into the boat, he said that the wind had died down. Faith is a guarantee of security and there is a proverb that says: “Through the cross one goes to the light”. If we take away the cross from Holiness, which is the fullness of love, we are taking away its overwhelming power. Let us not forget that the theological virtues, which look at God, faith, hope and charity, are nourished by prayer, especially the continuous prayer that is love.
Prayer clearly has to be continuous, because love is continuous, even if we start for a minute. There is also a saying in Spanish that says: “If you want to know how to pray, go into the sea”. What does that mean for us? We know there are rough seas and icy seas. To enter the sea is to enter your innermost self. There, our Heavenly Father awaits you, awaits us.
Prayer is silence to all that is useless and obsessive. Prayer is intimate dialogue with the divine persons. Prayer is recollection of our mind, which has a tendency to disperse. Recollection is paying attention to what Christ wants to say to you.
We always carry Christ with us, and we must always go through our interior galleries, but always from the hands of Christ as Christ did with Peter. From his hand we will never fear anything, not even darkness. From the hand of Christ we can do everything with faith and with complete trust. ‘Please enter with Christ into the boat of your heart!’