Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
In both Matthew and John, the feeding of the five thousand is followed by the story we hear in today’s Gospel (cf. Mt 14). While Jesus stays behind, the disciples embark on a night crossing to Capernaum, rowing across a windy and agitated sea. In Matthew’s version of the story, it is clear that Jesus himself sends the disciples on this crossing, while he stays behind to dismiss the crowd.
Sometimes, we would rather stay with the Lord where we have found him or even assisted him. And yet, Jesus is free to send us out, even at the end of a long day, to go ahead of him into the darkness. Clinging to Jesus at this point instead of going where he sends us would be tantamount to insisting that we should be his lord rather than recognizing him as our Lord. And yet, when we go where Jesus sends us, even if it seems that he sends us away from himself, we are actually ever more united to him in our love. After all, the Son let himself be sent by the Father in the Spirit from eternity into the world as a human being, but this being-sent-out was no less of an “abiding in” the Father, but an expression of the Triune love that remains “ever-greater” (Cf. SpEx 102).
When we go where Jesus sends us, we will always find him where we are sent, though perhaps not in the moment or in the way that we expect. When the disciples see Jesus walking on the sea near the boat, they are afraid, as is only natural. Jesus responds with an affirmation, “it is I,” and with a command, “do not be afraid.” When we find ourselves afraid on the path upon which the Lord sends us, we should turn to Jesus in order to make sure that he is truly the one who comes to us and leads us. If it is, he will strengthen us and offer us the freedom and courage that comes when the life we live is no longer just our own, but the life that is given to us from above.