19th Sunday Ordinary Time – Situated with the Disciples & Peter
Peter not only steps out of the boat, but into the limelight for the first time, really. He distinguishes himself as “the bold one,” the one to take the bull by the horns. And more as we shall see.
How does Matthew situate Peter in this story? How does Matthew locate us with him? Several ways…
- Peter & the disciples are in a ship, scripturally speaking. Not a boat, rather a ship (ploion) that connotes pride and all that is proud & lofty. The egos of the disciples, we might say. Our egos (!)
Isaiah 2:12–16 For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high; against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills; against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft.
2. The wind batters (bazanidzo) the ship in which they try to survive. No Bark of Peter here, no symbol of the Church at this most basic level… What surfaced in their responses? Their wounded fierceness, their idolatry, and their pride (NB: Tyre is a symbol of pride for the prophets]
So, this is a story of the wind testing to see whether Peter & the others have built their houses on sand or on rock.
Matthew 8:28f When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment/batter us before the time?”
Wisdom of Solomon 12:23f Therefore those who lived unrighteously, in a life of folly, you tormented/battered through their own abominations. 24 For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals that even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish infants.
Sirach 4:17f For at first she [Wisdom] will walk with them on tortuous paths; she will bring fear and dread upon them, and will torment/batter them by her discipline until she trusts them, and she will test them with her ordinances.
Ezekiel 26:3f therefore, thus says the Lord God: See, I am against you, O Tyre! I will hurl many nations against you, as the sea hurls its waves. They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down its towers. I will scrape its soil from it and make it a bare rock.