Reflection for those at home and in church – Alan Marjoram
My youngest Grandson, who has just turned five, loves having the ‘Mr Men’ books read to him. He enjoys them so much that his Mum has recently invested in the full series of the ‘Little Miss’ books. There has to be equal opportunities for all in the twenty-first century!
When we are together, my grandson will often point out that Mr Bump did this, or Mr Mischief did that, or Little Miss Sunshine did something else.
Probably one of his favourites is Mr Impossible. In this book the author, Roger Hargreaves, imagines that Mr Impossible can do almost anything that is impossible. He imagines that Mr Impossible can build a house in a tree. No, not a tree house that you and I would expect, but a two storey three bedroomed house with tiled roof, chimney and everything else you would expect a house to look like.
Mr Impossible can also fly. He can also make himself invisible. Roger Hargreaves invites his readers to try these – and other feats – and then pronounces that they are impossible for us, but possible for
If you didn’t know anything about Mr Impossible, well, you do now!
The image of Mr Impossible came to me as I was reading the Gospel for today, and preparing this reflection.
Can you recall last week’s Gospel? It was St Matthew’s account of the feeding of the five thousand. St John, however, gives a slightly different account of the same event. John tells us that it was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, who found a boy in the crowd who had brought the five loaves and two fishes for his meal. Imagine his surprise when Jesus took the boy’s food, blessed it, and then asked His disciples to feed the crowd.
He probably thought that this was going to be impossible!
I recall the stained-glass window in my Church where I lived in north London in my childhood. The Church was dedicated to St Andrew, and the window depicted this scene. This miracle is one that I will always remember as it had a great impression on me and my lifelong faith.
But back to today’s Gospel. Jesus was tired after a hard day healing the sick from a large crowd who had followed Him. After that, Jesus had just fed those five thousand hungry followers from five loaves and two fishes. Everyone had enough to eat, so when they had finished, the disciples collected up twelve baskets full of broken pieces. Surely this was impossible!
Afterwards, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on to the other side of the lake, whilst He dismissed the crowds. Jesus then went up the mountain by himself to pray. Peace and quiet at last! A little time to himself; to pray.
But what about the disciples? They were on the water being battered about by heavy wind and waves. They were far from land and were terrified, fearing for their lives in such a fierce storm, despite being weathered fishermen and usually confident in heavy wind, rain and storms. The storm lasted for some time through the night.
Early in the morning they couldn’t believe their eyes. The impossible was happening. Jesus was walking on the water towards them. They must have been doubly terrified, first for their lives in the wake of the storm, and then of what they thought to be a ghost walking towards them. Surely this was impossible!
Jesus saw them in their terror, and spoke to them saying, ‘Take heart, it’s me, don’t be afraid.’ Peter answered him, ‘If it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’
Is there a bit of Thomas in this reply? Peter said, ‘If it is you,’ as if questioning what Jesus had said to him. So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Come.’
I like to think that the command to Peter, ‘Come’, was that gentle and soft voice of Jesus.
Peter got out of the boat and started to walk on the water. The water still had billowing waves; the wind was still blowing a gale. Surely this was impossible! Peter began to sink, losing his confidence and faith, but Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Why did you doubt, you of little faith.’
When Jesus and Peter were safe in the boat the wind ceased. All was calm again, and those in the boat worshipped Jesus saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ Maybe this miracle was specially performed to convince the disciples of that.
We learn from this dramatic story that, with Jesus, nothing is impossible. It is He who holds us up in the chaos of everyday life, gives us strength and peace. Nothing is impossible, we just need confidence and faith. Jesus will reach out His hand and catch you. It’s possible!