He Rules Over All Things

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.
(John 6:16-21)

Scripture Study

6:16–21 The fifth sign is a nature miracle, portraying Jesus sharing Yahweh’s power. Cf. the parallel stories following the multiplication of the loaves in Mk 6:45–52 and Mt 14:22–33.

6:19 Walking on the sea: although the Greek (cf. Jn 6:16) could mean “on the seashore” or “by the sea” (cf. Jn 21:1), the parallels, especially Mt 14:25, make clear that Jesus walked upon the water. John may allude to Jb 9:8: God “treads upon the crests of the sea.”

6:20 It is I: literally, “I am.”

Scripture Reflection

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, and 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.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

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