Elijah, Paul and Peter were feeling helpless, hopeless, and afraid.
Elijah had run afoul of Jezebel, the Queen of Israel, by proving the power of Yahweh and the impotence of her god, Baal, and of her priests. As a result, she was out to kill him. He felt powerless and very much alone.
Paul was beside him with grief, almost to the point of despair, because he longed for his Jewish brothers and sisters to come to faith in Jesus, wanting to share with them the joy of discipleship. But they were obstinate.
Peter (and the rest of the disciples), already shaken to their core by the dark and windy night at sea, thought they saw a ghost striding toward them on the water. Peter challenged the apparition. The ghost answered. Peter, his bluff called, left the relative safety of the boat to join the ghost for a pre- dawn stroll on the water. He was doing it! But only for a short while. The realization of doing the impossible sank in, and he began to sink.
But, eventually, Elijah, Paul and Peter came to a place of peace, confident that God indeed had their back; and, they overcame their demons of fear, loneliness, and despair.
Many of us have been there. It's the 4th watch of the night, about 3 am. We suddenly awaken, and funny stuff begins to happen. We hear a noise in the house or outside; senses are heightened; random thoughts enter our minds; imaginations run amok. And we can't wait for dawn.
Whatever our fears and worries that cause us to toss and turn during the night, our hearts to pound, and a cold sweat to soak us, Jesus stretches out his hand to give us courage, hope, and peace.
He tells us: Do not be afraid! I've got your back."
-Fr Sas, August 10th Homily
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A