Last week our Gospel focused attention on the mountain top. As then, so too now, many flee to the mountains to find God and, hopefully, peace. Many do! Others expect to find God in the great natural occurrences; some remember Elijah and are content to await the gentle breeze. Today we are reminded that sea level has a role to play in the manifesting of God: “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Some today wish to return to the sacristy for such discovery, and often proclaim that it is the only place to find God. Such expression must bring a smile to the Almighty. An older expression jumps to mind: “Farms, workshops, factories and offices.”
Times are troublesome for Matthew’s readers: the Temple has gone, Peter and Paul martyred, the various communities, Jewish, Christian and Gentile, dispersed and the Romans are definitely in control. What will become of us? Part of the answer is to recall this incident and to realise that Jesus does what God does and speaks as God has spoken in their inherited Biblical tradition. So “Do not be afraid.”
On the other hand, it might be helpful and consoling to know that the action of the disciples was not all that reassuring on that occasion. Eventually Peter takes the lead, falters, calls to the Lord to save him and receives a gentle rebuke: “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Our current barque in many places in our world is encountering rough seas and forceful head winds! It has happened before and, in a sense, for simply the same reason. There are those who do not wish to hear the words describing Jesus as “The Son of God.” As a throw-away line, they can be dismissed. But if they are serious, and indeed true, then those that hear need to listen and act.
We still have a Peter. We still have disciples who falter. We still have our Matthews who recall the facts for us, and we still have people in factories, on their farms, in their offices and workplaces, who stand and proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.