Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus demonstrates his authority over nature by walking on the sea. Water is, throughout the Scriptures, a symbol of danger and chaos. At the very beginning of time, when all was a formless waste, the Spirit of the Lord hovered over the surface of the waters. This signals God’s lordship over all of the powers of darkness and disorder.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites are escaping from Egypt, and they confront the waters of the Red Sea. Through the prayer of Moses, they are able to walk through the midst of the waves.
Now in the New Testament, this same symbolism can be found. In all four of the Gospels, there is a version of this story of Jesus mastering the waves. The boat, with Peter and the other disciples, is evocative of the Church, the followers of Jesus. It moves through the waters as the Church will move through time.
All types of storms—chaos, corruption, stupidity, danger, persecution—will inevitably arise. But Jesus comes walking on the sea. This is meant to affirm his divinity: just as the Spirit of God hovered over the waters at the beginning, so Jesus hovers over them now.