In today’s Gospel from St. Mark, Jesus’ disciples (having just witnessed Jesus feeding the multitudes) are in a boat “far out on the sea” when a windstorm comes upon them. They then notice Jesus walking on the water toward them, causing them to cry out “terrified,” fearing he was a ghost. Jesus tells them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
How often those words are repeated by Jesus in the Gospels: Do not be afraid. Take courage. I am with you. Do not be afraid.
The disciples, we are told, were astounded, when he got into the boat with them and the wind died down because “[t]hey had not understood the incident of the loaves.”
Standing on this side of Christ’s resurrection, however, we do understand. We understand the body of Christ feeding the multitudes. We understand the body and blood of Christ poured out for us. And, more importantly, we understand that by His death, resurrection and ascension, Christ is always present with us.
We forget that sometimes. Fear arises, like the wind on the sea and our anxieties can sometimes overwhelm us, blinding us to the reality of Christ’s presence. The key is to open our eyes and our ears. To let ourselves hear Jesus say to us, I’m here…Do not be afraid. To be strengthened by Christ’s presence through everything we face in our lives.
The promise was never that things would be easy. The promise was that Christ would always be with us. We face nothing alone.