Faith is a Risk-Taking Enterprise!

    A woman was walking down the street when she heard a voice shout, "Stop!" She stopped as a piece of metal fell from space just in front of her - perhaps debris from a satellite. If she had gone one step farther, she would have been killed. She looked around to find the person who saved her life and saw no one. A few days later she was about to cross a street and she heard the same voice boom, "Stop!" And a car, out of control, zoomed by in front of her missing her by inches.

    She looked around again for the source of the strange but life-saving voice. She saw no one, but this time she heard a voice. "Do you know who I am?" the voice asked. "No, I don't," she answered. "I am your guardian angel," said the voice. "I am here to protect you from harm." Instead of voicing her gratitude, the woman was indignant. "There's just one thing I want to know," she said, "Where were you when I got married?"

    All of us take risks. We would never have anything if we did not. No new relationships would be formed. No new businesses would be started. No new homes would be built. Helen Keller got it right when she said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Today's Gospel describes how Peter takes a risk by stepping into the sea to walk upon water.

    Sometimes we feel we are afraid of everything. We could narrate a big litany: We are afraid of ourselves, of people, of future, of past, of life and death. Because of that fear, we sabotage opportunities that come to us. We fear sickness and pain and death and the weight of that worry increases the chances that illness will overtake us. That is what fear continually does to us. Because of fear and not taking risks, we have many times have said to ourselves – ‘I should have taken the risk, I missed it.' That is why Jesus' words are so important to us, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."

    All the same, faith is a risk-taking enterprise. All did not go well with Peter. Peter was drowning in the water. Why didn't his faith carry him across the water to Jesus' side? It was fear. Fear crept in and doubt began to rise and Peter began to sink. Focus your thoughts on God, don't focus them on your problems...when you focus on your problems, your nervous system tightens up so your blood doesn't flow harmoniously. As a result, you experience sickness. Focus your thoughts on God instead of on your problems..."

    When we have no time or mental energy for formal prayers, let us use the short prayers in the gospels like Peter's prayer: "Lord, save me," or the prayer of the mother of the possessed girl: "Lord, help me," or the blind man's prayer: "Son of David, have mercy on me," or the sinner's prayer: "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner."

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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