The image of Jesus walking on water has always been popular.  That image has even given rise to a metaphor used to describe a person of great power or talent.  We some-times say of a person that they can walk on water.  The passage in Matthew’s gospel that tells on Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Mt.14 22-27) has been given various interpretations.   Some biblical scholars do not take the passage literally. They analyze the text and develop a different version of what actually happened.

Whatever interpretation of that event one prefers, one thing is clear.  Jesus came to his disciples in time of need.   That idea can legitimately be extended to ourselves.  Jesus knows when we are experiencing difficulties.  Jesus knows that sometimes our faith is tested and in danger of being submerged in a sea of doubt. He knows that sometimes our hope can be tested and in danger of being submerged in a sea of fear.  He knows that sometimes our love can be tested and in danger of being submerged in a sea of indifference and selfishness.

In those times of difficulty Jesus is always ready to help us.  Our challenge is to recognize him and be open to his grace.  It can be difficult to see Jesus in much of  what happens in our lives and in the world.  In the face of all the evil and suffering, in the absence of things we would like to see happen, we can be tempted to ask where is Jesus in all of that.

In his reflections for Advent, Fr. Ron Rolheiser recalls an incident in the life of Fr. Daniel Berrigan that can be helpful in regard to the apparent absence of Jesus. Berrigan was asked to give a conference on God’s presence in today’s world.  The conference was very brief.  He simply told the audience how he spent time each week sitting by the bed of a boy who was totally incapacitated.  The boy just lay there, cut off from any communication.  Berrigan described how he just sat there trying to hear what the boy was saying in his silence and helplessness.  He suggested this is the way God lies in our world, seemingly silent and helpless. God does not overpower us with his presence.  Rather he waits for us to listen to what he is saying, waits for us to open our minds and hearts to him.  Only then does he speak.