Wednesday, May 22, 2024

    “Truth can be learned with the heart, not with weapons” – Metropolitan Epifaniy on issue of war

    The Gospel tells us about an instructive miracle that the Savior revealed to His disciples. The Lord orders the apostles to set sail earlier, and then He Himself walks to them at night through the waters during a storm. At first, the disciples are frightened, thinking that they have seen a ghost. But when they hear the voice and recognize their Teacher, then Peter, as the most fiery in spirit, says: ” Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Mt. 14: 28). According to the command of the Savior and according to his own faith, Peter goes to meet Christ on stormy waters, as if on solid ground. But then, realizing what is happening, feeling the storm, Peter begins to sink and asks the Lord to save him. “Jesus immediately reached out his hand,” say the Scriptures, “caught him, and asked him: “You have so little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: 31).

    The OCU Primate wrote about this on social media.

    This relatively short Gospel reading gives us a lot to think about. The first and most obvious is the miracle of a human walking on water. In this way, the Savior gives to His disciples – and to all of us! – evidence of the special divine power that He has. Because it is quite obvious to everyone that an ordinary person cannot walk on water, especially during a storm, as if on a normal path on solid ground. So, having witnessed such a miracle, “those who were in the boat came up, bowed down to [Jesus] and said: You are truly the Son of God” (Matthew 14: 33). And we, as spiritual witnesses of a miraculous event, should also, together with the apostles, be strengthened in faith through the awareness of this truth.

    If we interpret the Gospel event allegorically, the stormy waters will remind us of our own life, filled with various worries, sorrows, and trials. And in the midst of this storm of life, God presents Himself to us in a miraculous way – He, Whom heaven and earth cannot contain, whose majesty even the highest angels cannot look at – comes to us, overcomes the distance of nature between the Creator and creation. God becomes a Man, He approaches us amid the stormy waves of this world, which lies in evil, to strengthen our faith and save us.

    And when we say “approaches us”, we mean not only the historical event of the Incarnation, but also the mysterious approach to each of us personally. After all, the same Christ, who walked through the stormy waters to the boat with the apostles, is also approaching every person. Because, as the Scriptures testify, He “desires that all men be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, God surpasses the laws of nature and reveals Himself to everyone who wants to know Him, just as He surpasses the natural laws of the elements, when he walks through raging waters, as if on a solid path, and then stops a raging storm with a single word.

    When a person, being in the circumstances of this world, seems to see God from afar, then, like the disciples in the boat, they are might take Him for something unreal, for a ghost or a vision. But to everyone who wants to know the truth, the Lord reveals Himself – He speaks to us through the Scriptures and through the Sacraments, through the science of the Church and the inner, gracious change in our very soul. But the condition for us to know this divine revelation is our own faith.

    Having so many instructions from the Gospel, having a vivid example of the apostle Peter – an example of his faith, an example of his doubts, and an example of how Christ saved him from drowning – we should implement all this in our own Christian life. May the power of faith help us overcome the seemingly insurmountable and lead us where human power is unable to lead. And that doubts do not destroy the fruits of faith in us. And when they manage to capture us for a while – so that we do not succumb to despair and do not give up in the struggle, but turn to God for help, knowing that He will extend His hand to us and save us.