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A sermon on Matthew 14:22-33

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By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church (Hillsboro,
St. Benignus Catholic Church (Greenfield),
Saint Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union)

When Matthew wrote his recollection of Jesus walking on the water, he used this one word three times to reveal something important about Jesus. The word is "immediately."
"Immediately, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat." (Matthew 14:22.) "Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” (Matthew 14:27.)

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'” (Matthew 4:31.) Why did Matthew use the word "immediately?" What does that word tell us about Jesus and ourselves?

The Greek word for "immediately" is "euthys." Euthys comes from the two words "eu" which means "well or good" and "theo" which means "to place." Thus, euthys means something that is found in the right place where it belongs for quick action without delay. An example might be placing a fire extinguisher near the stove to quickly put out a fire.

Matthew uses the word "immediately" to show Jesus knows what He has to do and does it without hesitation because it is so important. Euthys shows there is a divine plan behind everything Jesus did. Jesus was distressed until the plan was completed. 

He said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! (Luke 12:49-50.) 

Jesus believed His Baptism was an immersion into His painful death so everyone could have a joyful life. Jesus was God on a mission to bring us all home, quickly without delay. I don't understand why I am so important to God. I simply believe it because God said it. 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2:8.) Grace is defined as "God's Love in action." We go to church not to earn Heaven but to thank Jesus who earned Heaven for us. The very word "Eucharist" means "giving thanks."

Have you ever heard the phrase, "I would walk on water for you?" 

It means there are no limits of what I would do to help you. I would do or give anything for you. I remember as a child I watched a TV show about a soldier in Vietnam. He was mercilessly made fun of, bullied and put down by other soldiers in his platoon. They didn't like him because he was a nerd. They judged him as a weak coward who would run away instead of fight. They did terrible things to him. They put cow dung in his shoes. His food was laced with ipecac that made him vomit. The sergeant humiliated him with constant verbal abuse. 

One day they devised a plan to prove that he was a coward. A soldier made a hand grenade that would not explode. He climbed a tree and threw the dud grenade down into the midst of the camp where the nerd soldier and the others stood. Everyone expected him to wet himself from fright and run away. To their amazement, that nerdy soldier whom they all hated did the unthinkable. He jumped on top of the grenade using his body as a shield. Nobody moved as they watched his bravery unfold before their eyes. The soldier kept yelling, "Get out of here! Why aren't you running away?" 

This one soldier's bravery was like a mirror reflecting the ugly meanness of the others. After all they did to humiliate him, the nerdy soldier was willing to give up his life to save them. One by one, they approached the soldier, lifting him up from the dirt. A group hug ensued with profound apologies. The nerdy soldier became a hero that day when he "walked on the water" to save his fellow soldiers.  

Jesus not only walked on the water to save his disciples, but he walked on the dirty road to Golgotha to save us all. I believe Jesus fell three times because He was running to Golgotha to accomplish His Father's will and bring us home. 

Have faith that when you need Jesus in your storms, He will come running to you. "Truly, you are the Son of God." And they worshiped Him. Blessings to all. 

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