Jesus walks on the water of the Sea of Galilee and saves Peter from drowning. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can be guided to master his many passions and by building the Virtue of Self-control so he can mortify his physical and mental cravings. 

Liturgy

Christmastime – Wednesday after Epiphany or January 9 – Mk 6:45-52

Commentary

After Feeding the 5000, the crowd seeks to make Jesus their king (Jn 6:15) but He dismisses them and sends the Apostles in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Jesus goes into the hills to pray as He originally intended to do when the day started. Forming the Apostles by working through them in the Feeding the 5000, Jesus now forms them through a trial by storm.  

A violent storm tosses the boat in an all-night ordeal that leaves the Apostles, some of whom are seasoned fishermen, beaten by the waves and in great distress. Forgetting that Jesus earlier calmed another storm (Mt 8:23-27), the Apostles scream out in fear when they see Him walking across the stormy sea, believing Him to be a ghost; Jesus, perhaps in a preview of the Transfiguration, is somehow supernaturally illuminated, visible in the darkness of a stormy night among the dark violent waves.  

Jesus’ rebuke is mysteriously heard over the howl of the wind: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” Matthew’s Gospel adds Peter’s experience of attempting to walk on water like Jesus. When Peter boldly asks to walk across the boiling waves to Him, Jesus beckons Peter, “Come.” Peter first is able to walk on the water but gets distracted and begins to sink into the depths. Peter cries out, begging Jesus to save him. Jesus rebukes Peter for his lack of faith, and grabs hold of Peter with an overpowering strength, physically lifting and helping him into the boat. Jesus stills the violent storm, leaving the disciples “utterly astounded.” 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by Jesus: Divine Power, Jesus miraculously overrides the laws of nature (walking on water) and has the supernatural power to instantly stop a massive violent storm; Divine King, Jesus is a Protector of His men, saving them from fear and death; the perfection of Fortitude, Jesus offers Encouragement (from the Latin, cor, for heart; to literally “give heart”), inspiring His men to imitate Him in the Virtue of Courage (a part of Fortitude).

Become a master of the passions

Realize: While fear is an important gift from God to help men survive, like all passions, fear can spur men to grow in virtue (to take heroic action) or seduce them to fall into vice (effeminacy, cowardice, despair, inaction); every Catholic man is called into the life-long Spiritual Combat to use his passions to avoid sin and to heroically serve Christ. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Catechism’s teaching on the Morality of the Passions (CCC 1762-1774).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so You supernaturally guide me to harness and use my passions to avoid vice and grow in virtue, and I am directed by You to better serve Your Holy Catholic Church.  

Mortify physical and mental cravings

Realize: After he gets out of the boat, Peter is distracted by the violent storm and begins to sink because he lacks the discipline to keep his eyes on Jesus; a Catholic man can become distracted by the world and sink into sin because he lacks the discipline to always keep his eyes on Jesus. 

Believe: Reflect upon the importance of Mortification (CCC 1430, 1438, 2015, 2549).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Discipline, help me build the Virtue of Self-Control (a part of Temperance) so I have the self-discipline to maintain a regular habit of physical mortification (abstain from a food or alcohol, fasting, exercise and diet to maintain health) and mental mortification (refrain from news, media, gaming, politics) so I can more fully keep my eyes on You.