Fear and Courage

On Saturday it was the Feast of the Transfiguration; that startling and reeking of symbolism event that happened (according to the Fathers) on Mount Tabor. There Jesus shone brightly, like the sun, and on either side of Him stood Moses-the Law and Elijah-the prophets. Jesus is of course the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets. Jesus did not take all 12 apostles to witness this, but only Peter, James and John. Peter who would be the first Bishop of Rome – the first Pope. carrying the Keys of the Kingdom -the new Law and James who would be the first Bishop of Jerusalem from whence the old Law came and finally John the new Prophet who would write not only the most deeply theological of the four Gospels but the Book of Revelation and who as the adopted son of Mary would be the first child of the Bridal Church. All fine art depicting this shows the three apostles as falling back in fear and awe. John later writes in Revelation when he saw Christ Resurrected and transfigured that he fell on his face.

I defy anyone to face Christ as He really is and not fall on your knees at the very least.

Then yesterday the Gospel reading showed the apostles in the boat of Peter – the Church- being tossed about and threatened by the stormy sea and the great wind of the storm. They were terrified, fearing that death was too close. Jesus walks out onto the sea and calms the storm. Peter wants to rush to His Lord and with permission, jumps overboard and walks out towards Jesus. Only he looks down and with the fear that overtakes him, begins to sink. Jesus stretches out His hand and Peter is saved and gets back into the boat.

Scott Hahn has a point imho when he says that although Jesus tells Peter he is of little faith, the other lot never even had the faith to step onto the water.

Well, I’m going to admit something: I spend far too much of my faith-time being afraid. I missed Mass (again) because I am too ill (again) and the battle I face now is like the storm – it’s the battle of fear and anger. I am very, very tired of being ill. I want to be well. I want that miracle of the calmed storm. I am not asking to be able to walk on water – just to be able to walk!

The Holy Father said this:

It is an incident whose great significance the Fathers of the Church understood.
The sea symbolises today’s life and the instability of the visible world. The storm indicates the many troubles that oppress man. The boat, instead,
represents the Church built on Christ and led by the Apostles. Jesus wants to educate the disciples to bear with courage the adversities of life, placing
their trust in God, the One who revealed himself to the prophet Elijah on Mount Horeb in “a tiny whispering sound” (1 Kings, 19:12).

In his homily the Holy Father reminds us that we need courage. If there was nothing to be afraid of I suppose we wouldn’t need courage. If there was no storm it would not be so hard to hear the “tiny whispering sound”

We all know that it was the moment Peter took his eyes from Christ that he began to sink. We have to have the courage to look up again and the humility to shout “Lord, save me, I’m sinking!” You see, even that takes courage.


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