Saturday, August 6, 2011


God constantly invites us to live as disciples who learn from and follow Jesus.  This invitation might come in the form of a gentle breeze
after a powerful storm. 
It might come in the form of confusion or despair
when we don’t know what to do. 
It might come to us in the daily grind
of everything we take for granted and miss,
making the familiar look like it’s all brand new. 
What is important is our response to that call 
because in it we discover the commitment to our faith.

Every authentic response to the call of Christian discipleship
must be carefully discerned, it cannot be a mere reaction. 
St. Peter shows us this truth when,
rather than thinking about the implications
of trying to walk on the water,
he gets out of the boat and just starts walking
until the wind and waves remind him
that this isn’t possible and he nearly drowns. 
He reacted, and his reaction nearly killed him. 

One of the greatest tragedies of our day is that people
often make decisions without thinking them through carefully. 
An idea is proposed, and in the blink of an eye a decision is made
without any real awareness that, “This might not work out so well.”    Clearly this is what happened to Peter who needed Jesus to rescue him. 
Or, a good suggestion is made, but it might take a little work,
it might not feel like something we’re all that interested in,
and so the idea is dismissed without even thinking about it.

In 1992 the Bishops of the United States wrote a document
It is a beautiful yet profoundly challenging document. 
It unites the word “stewardship” with “discipleship.” 
Anyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus Christ
is called to be a steward who takes care of something
on behalf of another person. 
We have been given our faith. 
Jesus Christ has entrusted to us this Church,
this religion, this spiritual way of life. 
What Christ has given is a sacred gift that we are to cherish with great care.  The gift of our faith demands that we share our time, talent and treasure
so that the Church can live and grow, in these troublesome days. 

Tithing is a spiritual discipline that reveals our commitment
to the call of discipleship,
and many people think that all the Church does is ask for our money.  We have asked people for help in the liturgy,
or to help teach our children the faith,
and there’s just never enough time,
or we’re just not smart enough,
or we would just rather do something else.
The Gospel calls us to serve the poor,
and yet we choose to take good care of ourselves first
ignoring their plight. 
As disciples we have been asked to live and proclaim the Gospel
which is the good news of God’s mercy and love for a sinful world
and we continue to hold onto grudges and prejudice.

To many Catholics stewardship seems as hard,
and perhaps ridiculous, as walking on water. 
This is even true for the hierarchy of the Church
which has not done enough to promote the spirituality of stewardship that their own document calls for.
But when Peter said,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water”
all Jesus said was, “Come.” 
He never said, “Peter, you fool, you can’t walk on the water.” 
Jesus invited him in midst of the stormy seas,
the ferocious winds, and crashing waves
to come out and take a walk with him on the water. 
You never know, maybe Peter would learn
to entrust his life to the will of God
even if it didn’t make sense,
even if the work would be hard,
even if his faith was weak.

Jesus calls out to us in every moment of our lives to be disciples;
stewards who have a mission
to proclaim the gospel,
teach our children the ways of our faith,
serve the needs of the poor
and to live holy lives. 
He calls us to be generous to the poor, merciful to sinners,
kind to those who are hard to like
and to worship with a spirit of joy and enthusiasm that unites us. 
Right now, in the calm of this moment,
even though there is tension and anxiety,
fear and distress in our lives,
Christ invites us to come out onto the water,
to not be afraid, to know that he is near,
and that he will catch us if we fall. 
He will not allow us to be harmed by how much we give,
how we live, or how we express our faith. 
His hand is ever there to lift us up, to bolster our faith,
and to show us the way to be disciples.