Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort
The apostles who saw Christ walking on the water were not filled with love. They thought Jesus was a ghost, and so they panicked and screamed. Christ at once dispelled their misconceptions, saying, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.” (Mark 6:50) St. Mark gives a telling analysis of the apostles’ fear. “They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:52)
They did not recognize the work of Christ in the miracle of the feeding of the thousands with only a few loaves of bread. Whatever is was they thought, they did not think that this man Jesus was the all-powerful one responsible for that miraculous event. If they had, then they would have known not only the greatness of his power to perform such deeds, but also the greatness of his love which led him to have pity on the hungry crowds in the first place.
Their hearts were hardened, because they did not recognize Jesus. Instead they were terrified and astounded. We hear in the first reading “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18) So let us be on guard against fear, a servile concern that we might suffer some punishment or harm. Rather, let us be concerned with others, and, above all others, let us be concerned with God. Today, let us pray for the grace to see his great love, to have our eyes opened to the mercy He pours out upon us so that we may respond to him with love.