In the middle of August, we have this well-known Gospel, which echoes powerfully with us as a parish, in the ‘holiday season’ trying to maintain contact with our candidates – feeling we are battling against the odds….. And He made us get into this wretched boat and go on ahead while he dismissed the crowds (yes, dismissed!) and went up into the hills for a nice quiet time by himself! We quite fancy a nice bit of quiet ourselves.
Well, in this story there is room for both – time for quiet refreshment in the ‘sheer silence’ on the hillside (Community Bible translation of ‘gentle breeze’ (in 1 Kngs 19:12) and with the psalmist to ‘hear what the Lord has to say, a voice that speaks of peace’, and time for battling with our own fears and immaturity as we attempt to move forward with the process of initiation.
On reflection, perhaps rather than highlighting Peter’s doubt, it is is his courage and faith that is emphasised when he says in the height of the storm on seeing Jesus walking towards them, ‘Order (or ‘tell’)me to come to you’ and Jesus says ‘Come’ and he climbs out and gives it a go!
So what have we been ‘giving a go’ this Summer? The ‘group’ has not been meeting to break the Word, which could be seen as a disapointment. However, the sponsors have been alongside our candidates these last weeks, sitting with them at Mass, bringing them to parish picnics, prayer vigils for Zimbabwe, and pilgrimages to local shrines, as well as continuing to share on the Sunday Gospels over a coffee, and telling stories of their own experience, for example, of reconciliation, as this sacramental opportunity approaches for the one who is to be received into full communion in September (on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross – most appropriate for him). Our neophyte has got married – so that has been a great joy in the whole parish community. He specifically wanted the recitation of the Creed in the nuptial mass because it has come to mean so much to him. So on reflection, the community and the candidates have been quietly getting on with the business of helping ‘those who are searching for Christ in the various circumstances of daily life’. (RCIA9) Perhaps, gradually we are moving towards a more liturgical/mystagogical apprenticeship!