Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Aug 5, 2020 | Gospel Reflections

Matthew 14: 22 – 33

Sunday Reflection by Sister Nancy Wellmeier, SNDdeN

Jesus Walks on Water

Perhaps, you, like Jesus, were looking forward this summer to some time of reflection, some contemplation of what lies ahead, (He could glimpse a hint of  his future in the death of John the Baptist) and your retreat was cancelled or your days have been broken up by the several crises we are facing–widespread fear and concern about the pandemic, concern for your loved ones, unemployment, disastrous weather events, and civil unrest.  Jesus finally finds some ‘alone’ time after he sends his disciples back across the lake in the boat but is interrupted in the early morning hours because he knows his friends are in trouble.

This section of Matthew Chapter 14 is called “Jesus Walks on Water” but that is not really the point.  We and the disciples already know that He can do marvelous things–he just provided lunch for a large crowd.  He was hastening to the aid of his disciples and considerately, did not want to just appear in the boat.  His appearance in the mist was less frightening.  We too are in a boat being tossed about by strange winds and currents.  His words can reassure us too: “Get hold of yourselves! It is I. Do not be afraid.”  Peter’s initial courage is overcome by fear and he prays, “Lord, save me.”  We too can derive courage and comfort from the end result of this adventure: the disciples’ strengthened faith: “Beyond doubt, you are the Son of God.”  These are difficult times and all of the prayers in this section of the Gospel are gifts for us to use in our distress: Get hold of yourself. Do not be afraid.  Lord, save me.


Matthew 14: 22 – 33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

The Gospel of the Lord


Meet Sister Nancy Wellmeier, SNDdeN

Sister Nancy Wellmeier met the Sisters of Notre Dame when she was a student at Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio, USA. Her first years in ministry were dedicated to teaching Spanish; this was followed by 25 years in youth and parish ministry in Mexico and Arizona. After completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology, she was appointed by the US Bishops’ Conference Department of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees to coordinate the Church’s outreach to the Mayan refugees from Guatemala in the US. Elected as a General Counselor for the Sisters of Notre Dame in 2002, she enjoyed six years of meeting and working with the Sisters in all the countries where SNDs minister. At present she is preparing a history of the SND mission –1859 to 1875—in Guatemala, Central America, as well as beginning an immigrant service center in Arizona.