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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  (Franklin D Roosevelt)

Fear can paralyse us and prevent us from taking risks and achieving our potential. It can also prevent us from answering God’s call for further service. Of course we need the sense to guard against danger but excessive fear will force us to stay always in our comfort zones.

In today’s gospel, Peter was searching for new horizons in reaching out to Jesus, who was walking on the sea. While he kept focussed on his Lord with faith he was perfectly safe, but once he began to think about the turbulent sea, whipped up by the howling wind, he began to sink. Jesus’ hand steadied him and he was once again in a secure place.

We can allow our imaginations to take us to dark, terrifying places where all possible horrible things happen. The more we put ourselves in the hands of the Master who loves and cares for us, the more we will be able to be free of terror. The church will always be beset by storms and maybe it is at this best when this happens; then there is the realisation that the Lord’s helping hand is needed and change can come about. Calm waters on the other hand can produce complacency in the institution that becomes an end in itself and the critical and mystical elements become weak.

“From all my terrors the Lord set me free.” (psalm 33)