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I know that I am so fortunate as a priest to be only 7 miles from Mum’s house.  When Dad passed   away two and a half years ago, Mum herself was so weak with the MS she has suffered for over 40 years that we thought she might go down quickly.  And yet two and half years later, she is full of chat, sometimes weepy as she was yesterday, but always wanting to know who’s doing what in the family and always telling you what the carers are doing – going to a party, changing jobs etc.  In the midst of other infirmities, she can’t move out of her chair by herself and has almost no eyesight so when it comes to simple tasks like going to the toilet she depends on others.  Sometimes I am there to help and, when I am, I am always struck by her need to hold on to others.  She has a strong grip.  “Reach out and touch” says the song and, like so many people with similar infirmities, it’s that grip, the physical touch that provides reassurance and support.

 

 

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus reaches out and hold Peter’s hand when he thinks he is sinking.  There are other words to the story and a dialogue but I focused this week on Jesus simply reaching out, touching and, in holding Peter’s hand, providing reassurance and support to a disciple in crisis.  I was reminded of other moments in the Gospel when Jesus’ actions speak louder than his words: when he looked at the rich young man who needed to turn his life around and it says “Jesus loved him even with his look.”  Then there was the look that Jesus would have given each of the disciples at the Last Supper as he washed their feet – once again a reassuring look of love.

 

 

 

Here in this Gospel Jesus reaches out and holds Peter’s hand as Peter fears that he will sink.  Once again Peter becomes a spokesman for the other disciples, this time though a spokesman for their “lack of faith.”  Peter and the others are challenged to see and hear Jesus revealing himself as God: hear him in the words he says “do not be afraid, it is I”; and see him rescuing Peter who is about to drown.

 

 

 

You and I come here today as disciples of Jesus.  You and I are called to see Jesus reaching out his hand in moments of crisis.  That hand doesn’t come miraculously from heaven.  It comes in the touch of a friend, a colleague, a family member or, in my case, a Mum.  It is the touch that reassures when you feel life is dragging you down.  It is the touch that calms the storm and gives confidence that today will bring more peace and more love than yesterday.

 

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