Take Courage…Immediately

August 2, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase from or inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him… (Matthew 14:22-36)

I will be leading a retreat today for 60+ teachers and staff members of St. Mark Catholic School. We will begin with Mass and I will share these thoughts in my homily:

As ministers of the Church – which Catholic school teachers are – our work is never done. That is just the reality of ministry.

Think of all that educators have been asked to do over the years: fire drills, tornado drills, and now, active shooter drills. The Department of Education has a list of requirements that must be met, plus those of the Archdiocese. Don’t forget CPR training. And of course, when a pandemic came along, they needed to throw they’ve ever known about traditional teaching out the window and start over – learning to teach remotely, or electronically, or with half their students in the classroom and the other half at home. All of this is in addition to teaching the content of a particular academic area according to curriculum standards.

And to top it all off, I’m going to tell these teachers that they are also obligated – by their baptism – “to preach the gospel to every living creature.”

All that said, today’s gospel offers hope. Jesus tells us to “Take courage.” These are not hollow words of encouragement. He backs the words up with the promise that He will be there every step of the way, if we simply believe.

How do we know? He showed us by how He responded to Peter when he became frightened and unsure if he could do all that was being asked of him.

The most important word in this gospel – in my opinion – is IMMEDIATELY. When Peter faltered, Jesus did not leave him to flounder. He immediately stretched out His hand and caught him.

My message to these educators: The work of ministry is never done. When what is being asked of you becomes overwhelming, take courage and push forward. Walk with confidence, knowing that if you should falter or doubt, Jesus will immediately reach out His hand to you.

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