Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saints and Scripture Peter's Boat

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was  contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “ Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “ You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” 
Matthew 14:22-33 NASB

This was the reading today in our Melkite parish. This is one of my favorite passages! Unfortunately, I missed most of the homily because Princess had to go potty. Here's a picture of the icon on the wall of our parish, notice the mast.

I always think of Peter's boat as a type of the Church. I first came across this as I meditated on the image of St Peter's Barque on a frosted glass window in a chapel at Mount Angel Seminary. Jesus and His followers journeyed together to the other side of the sea carrying Jesus and His salvific message. Also it is shown by Peter's sinking that the only safe and sure place is in the boat (Church). Also, note that it is Peter's boat as in Peter the man whom all Popes have succeeded. I always think of Chef from Apocalypse Now after he was attacked by a tiger while looking for mangoes: "Don't get out of the f@#$*!g boat!"
I think of Christ walking on the water as opposed to parting the sea. I'm not sure where there thought will eventually go.
I think of St Peter in desperate need of physical salvation crying out to Jesus to save him. I like the parallel with spiritual salvation and Jesus carrying him back to the boat which is a type of the Church.
I think about the last sentence. They worshiped Him. There are some miracles where the Apostles are clearly more impressed than at other times. Even still, after the Resurrection some of them still doubted.
The lack of faith isn't just with Peter for being afraid and thus sinking, the other Apostles were clearly worried the boat would sink and them with it.
I also think of the story when Jesus was sleeping through the storm and they woke him to save the boat from sinking. Did He go back to sleep? For that matter what would the Savior of the World dream about?
I've published poems on 50 Days After about St Peter's barque here and here. In both poems I emphasized Peter's barque as a type of the Church and Christ's guarantee that the Church would never fail is portrayed by the unsinkable nature of St Peter's Barque, after all the "gates of hell shall never prevail against" the Church aka Peter's Barque.

Click on the picture to see the other submissions for Saints and Scripture Sunday.


May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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1 comment:

Bonnie Way said...

Interesting thoughts - thanks for sharing! I love the way we can learn so much more from a familiar Bible passage by looking at it a new way or hearing someone else's perspective. :)