Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


1 KGS 19: 9A, 11-13A
ROM 9: 1-5
MT 14: 22-33


Stop me if this scenario sounds all too familiar: you are four or five years old and you just got those handy training wheels off of your first bike. A loved one pushes you on the back and you are off to the races. You are pedaling as best as you can and, much to your surprise, you are riding a bike! You are so excited that you forget about the one thing that actually made this dream possible: pedaling. Within seconds of your first bike ride without training wheels, you are crying out to someone for a Band-Aid and some kisses on the fresh bruise you just got on your knee.

This Sunday’s Gospel sounds a lot like riding a bike without training wheels for the first time. It is the story in which Peter walks on water towards Jesus, only to shrink in fear of the heavy winds. Without falter, Jesus saves Peter, causing the other disciples to respond the only way they know how: “Truly, you are the Son of God.” Perhaps Peter’s pedaling is his faith itself. Let us not forget that Peter and the rest of the disciples were just as human as the rest of us, and doubting their faith while having the privilege of experiencing the Son of God firsthand was not a rare occurrence.

Fast forward fifteen years and my doubts are much more worrisome that riding a bike. Last May we said goodbye and good luck to close friends, mentors, and all around good people known as the Class of 2017. I will look back on this class with great appreciation for how they helped form my faith, but one thought looms over my head: I am now the same age as they were when I first met them as a timid first-year student. To make matters worse, one of my best friends just had to point out that we are now the people that students will seek out for guidance and perspective. Yikes. I barely know where Loma Hall is, let alone how to fill the footprints that were left behind!

Just as my feet stop moving and I find myself sinking in my own ocean of personal doubts, I am reminded of one thing: the greatest things in life are found on the opposite side of fear. I can choose to cower in fear of the unknown, or I can trust myself and realize that the experiences that I have shared with others at USD and beyond are more than enough to prepare me for what lies ahead. I don’t know what these next two years will look like exactly, but I have a pretty good idea that if it’s anything like the first two, people could learn a thing or two from me! Amen.

- Matthew Hendrickson, ‘19