19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A When things get stormy in life, who do you go to for help? When you are faced with challenges, difficult situations or moments in your life, who do you rely on? Today’s gospel reading shows and tells us who to go to and who to rely on in times of need. The Gospel reading today tells us of the experience of the apostles on the boat when Jesus was not with them and they were being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against their boat. It states that Jesus came toward them walking on the sea, and they were terrified and frightened, thinking it was a ghost and cried out in fear. But Jesus calmed them down saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” With these words, Jesus reminds them that He is a firm anchor on whom to trust, believe and rely on. My dear friends, we live in a world that almost everyday, if not everyday, we hear about something going wrong or people losing their lives or property, or some form of evil against human life is happening. It doesn’t even get easier when we think about our our personal lives and problems ranging from our health issues, addictions, temptations, struggles to overcome our sins, family turmoil, financial struggles, depression, stress, faith issues, challenges in our prayer lives, the list can go on and on! With all these things and many more to deal with, we are overwhelmed and discouraged to keep on going. But when we remember Jesus’s words “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” we are strengthened to face these challenges, distractions and threats with His help and assistance. How? We can face these problems, challenges, distractions and threats with God’s help and assistance by looking at Jesus. Looking at Jesus means and entails:

  1. Continually deepening our faith in Him by making God the firm anchor on whom we can trust, believe and rely on. As we heard in the gospel reading, Peter began to sink when he stopped looking at Jesus and began to notice the strong the wind around him and became frightened.
  2. Having confidence in God and not in things or people, who can disappoint us in the future or endanger our faith in God. This means if we want to be victorious in our spiritual challenges today, we have to hold on to the Lord, our True Friend and God by trusting and always hoping in Him. So how can we deepen our faith in God and have confidence in Him? We can do so by praying more often than before, by reading the Scriptures, by spiritual direction, by being mindful of the temptations around us and staying away from them, and lastly, by sincerely working hard everyday to live out the gospel of Christ. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter the winds, waves, earthquakes of challenges, difficult situations, troubles or trials you are facing in your life today, Jesus calls on you to take courage and do not be afraid, because He is truly the Son of God and will save you!