This week’s Diocesan e-news had a reflection on this Sunday from Scott Hahn, with an illustration emblazoned with the tag line – “When you are drowning in FEAR, DOUBT or DISCOURAGEMENT Don’t forget your lifeguard walks on water.”1 How apt for us, our lifeguard, our Saviour walks on water and provides many other examples which are counter intuitive to the human mind. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives another example of how we can be like Him if we have faith in Him.

Our readings today remind us of the power of God, how mankind can do little against the forces of nature and when we answer God’s call, we can find ourselves doing things we never dreamed possible.

In the first reading, Elijah is fleeing from Queen Jezebel and has walked for 40 days to reach the holy mountain. He is instructed to “stand on the mountain before the Lord”, he obeys and becomes a witness to the power of God; a wind that can split mountains, an earthquake and fire, but it is in the gentle breeze that he recognises God and no doubt remembering Moses’ encounter with God on the same mountain, he covers his face out of fear and respect. He listens to the call of the Lord and goes back to speak the word of God to the same people who didn’t want to hear and whom he had fled a few weeks earlier.

In our Gospel we hear Peter say to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.” ‘If’, that small word that can change the meaning of a sentence and which signifies doubt. Peter steps out of the boat, answering the call of Jesus, but doubt sets in again and he starts to sink; calling out of fear to Jesus to save him. Notice that when Peter calls to Jesus to save him the doubt is gone. He does not say, ‘if you are Jesus save me’. It is a definite ‘Lord! Save me!’

How often do we allow our doubts to surface and our faith to sink? How often do we ignore the call of the Lord to step out of the boat? Do we have confidence that Jesus is our lifeguard and that he will not allow us to sink?

For me, I know that for a long time, I suppressed the call of the Diaconate, allowing my fears to drown out the call. I reasoned that God only calls good people; He would not be calling me. I reasoned that I was too busy, I was not clever enough to get through the studies. You name it I used that excuse. However, I was made aware of an expression that ‘God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.’ Meaning, that if this was meant to be then God would ensure I had the time, the talents and the resources to make it happen. I also heard during a Lenten study course that if you think you have a call from God, try ignoring it, if it goes away then it probably was not a call from God. But if it keeps coming back then you really need to listen and respond to the call.

How is God calling you this week? Which boat are you being asked to step out of in faith?

Are you content to allow the noise from the forces of life to surround you or are you like Elijah, waiting for the sound of the gentle breeze to announce God’s presence? Do you allow quiet spells in your day to hear God calling? If so, do you have the courage to respond?

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those discerning a vocation, may they have the courage to step out of the boat.
  • Our Grandson Leonardo, who joins our Church on Saturday 8th through Baptism at St Bede’s, we welcome him and our Italian family who are visiting.
  • Those who affected by Covid 19, especially those who have been unable to get treatment for other conditions as a result of hospitals being focussed on the pandemic.
  • All medical, nursing, health workers and care workers who have worked tirelessly to help those suffering, as well as the other ‘Essential workers’ who have tried to keep supplies and public services as normal as possible.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 7th August 2020.

If you are struggling to find resources or would like suggestions please email me on adarroch@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or if you would appreciate the odd call from me during this time please send me a message with your contact details and I will get in touch.

1 Portsmouth Diocese e-news Issue 286 available from https://www.portsmouthdiocese.org.uk/enews accessed 7th August 2020