In one of his books, Mark Twain recalls a visit to the Holy Land and a stay in Capernaum. It was a moonlit night, so he decided to take his wife on a romantic boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Twain asked a man in a rowboat how much he would charge to take them out on the water. The man saw Twain's white suit, white shoes and white hat and supposed he was a rich Texan. So he said the cost would be twenty-five dollars. Twain walked away as he said, "Now I know why Jesus walked on water." This weekend’s reading Elijah encountering God in whispering sound and the apostles encountering Jesus while he was walking on the water. Unexpected ways and place God come to our life.
The story of Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb was a flight from danger. Ahaz was the king of Israel, but the real power was his wife Queen Jezebel, the promotor of pagan god Baal.Elijah challenged the all the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and which ended up Elijah’s victory and annihilated all of them. Queen Jezebel was angry and ready to take Elijah’s life. Elijah fled to Mount Horeb to save his life. Mount Horeb is an alternate name for Mount Sinai, where Lord appeared to Moses. Here Elijah acknowledges the presence of God by covering his face and coming out of the cave where he had been staying and received a commission. There is a Hebrew idiom, “to serve the Lord.” We read in the first reading God said to Elijah, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” In a way, God was asking him, why you are hiding here, I want you to go back and do the prophetic service.
We hear in the Gospel the continuation of the feeding of the Five Thousand. We see creative power and authority in the multiplication of loaves and fish. The Gospel illustrated this weekend, Jesus’ power over other elements of creation. In the Gospel, Jesus is walking on crashing waves of a terrible storm at Sea of Galilee. On the other hand the apostles, in the middle of the night a few miles away from the shore being tossed by the waves. They were fishermen; they go for fishing always in the middle of the night. They know quite well the Sea of Galilee, but still they are scared.
When we are scared or in pain, do we have a tendency to see ghost or evil instead of God? It is very hard to see good when we go through tough time, isn’t it? When the apostles were laboring against the turbulent sea, Jesus came to save them. They saw Jesus walking on the water, what did they think? “It is a ghost.”
Jesus told them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” It is I; here Jesus does a self-identification. We see in the book of Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” Then HE said to Moses to tell Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.” Jesus revealed his identity to the apostles.
St. John Paul II always, repeated the phrase from the Bible, “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” Jesus tells us today, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” He is with us always, be ready to encounter his unexpected place, time and situations.