You can hear the homily here:
I visited Magdala along the Sea of Galilee a few months ago and since then I think differently about the apostles, especially fishermen apostles like Peter and Andrew, James and John. Magdala, the city of Mary Magdalen, was a center for the fishing industry in Galilee in Jesus’ time, according to archeologists who recently uncovered the city.
It evidently was a prosperous place, and so far from being “poor and ignorant” many of the Galilean fishermen were well-off, savy businessmen who knew their way around.
Did Jesus choose them and the tax-collector, Matthew, because they knew the territory well and would be good guides to the places he wanted to visit? They knew where to go and how to get there: the Sea of Galilee was their usual highway
But a storm like that described in our gospel today (Matthew 14,22-33) would shake anybody, even the most self-asssured.
When we read a miracle story like the calming of the sea and someone walking on water, we shouldn’t just stop in amazement at the power of Jesus. There’s a lesson to be learned in the story. What’s the lesson here?
Perhaps like Peter and the rest of the disciples we can easily fall into thinking that there are some things beyond God’s power–and ours– to do. These were confident men, yet their faith was shaken, like ours often is. When told by Jesus to walk on the water, Peter believed up to a point, then he said, “This can’t be; it’s not possible; it’s beyond his power and mine to do.” In fear and doubt he began to sink.
Doesn’t this happen to us too? We believe, up to a point, and then we doubt. Our doubts about God’s power can be brought about by major events in our world, as ovewhelming as a storm at sea. Wars, terrorist attacks, global warming. How quickly we throw up our hands as if this is all beyond God’s power and ours.
We are all in the same boat. Take a look at the boat on the Sea of Galilee–it’s the world on the sea of history, it’s the church in time. In storms, they may both look like they’re going to sink. But they wont. Jesus is in the boat.
That’s what the mystery of the Incarnation tells us.