What Happens When We Get Distracted

August 9, 2020

The night started out like many on the sea.  Fishing was marginal, and the winds began to throw the boat around.  As they gaze to the horizon, the disciples see a figure walking towards them.  It is a time of fear and a time of doubt.  As Jesus comes closer, they are still confused.  Jesus is walking on the water.  He is walking towards them.  Peter cries out to test the illusion of whether this is a ghost or the real thing.  Jesus says come.  Come out on the water and Peter takes a few bold and wonderful steps, he is walking on the water, until something happens.  His self-awareness of what is happening betrays him.  He feels the water, he experiences the wind, and he begins to doubt what he is doing.  That self-doubt causes him to sink.  What a tragedy.

So often we all start out great.  We all took on precautions at the beginning of the shelter in place order a lot differently than we do now.  Now we do more, visit more as we have adjusted our response to the threat of the virus.  We may have become self-aware that we can do more on our own.  As the numbers spike, we see that doubt about our original approach might lead us to poor judgment.  We take more risks, we lose our diligence of wiping things down, washing our hands, sanitizing our work and living environments.  Many things distract us as time goes on and we lose the courage and tenacity from which we started.  This can be dangerous and we risk the possibility of sinking.

The great gift is, whether we sink or not, Jesus never stops walking towards the boat.  He does not look at a distance to see how things will play out.  The reality is that Jesus never stopped engaging with the disciples to strengthen their belief and He never stopped moving in the only direction He knows, towards us.  This is the great gift; this is what we are called to immerse ourselves into.  This Jesus who walks on water, this Jesus who calms the storm, He loves us even when we fall into false securities and distractions.  Distractions lead to self-doubt.  Self-doubt challenges us to take our eyes off of Jesus.  Jesus never takes His eyes off of us.  He cherishes the sight no matter whether we leave the boat or not.  May this Jesus calm our storms and reassure us.

Father John Ouper