Today’s readings invite us to look at Elijah and Peter; both have an important personal encounter with God. Meeting God does not come without its difficulties.
After a long walk, on the holy mountain, Elijah waits until God walks past. Elijah has to understand that God is not in the big demonstrations, but in the stillness. It takes faith to wait through big events to meet and experience God in silence.
In the gospel, Peter and the apostles are struggling against the rough seas when Jesus approaches their boat, walking on water. Does Peter really trust that it is Jesus out there on the waters, when he asks permission to step out on the stormy seas? Does he really expect to be able to walk on water on Jesus’ bidding? Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking towards Jesus, but then doubt comes in and he starts to sink. Jesus reprimands Peter: “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Joseph De Piro did not have the intimate experiences of Elijah and Peter; he neither climbed mount Horeb nor walked on water, yet he kept his focus steadu on to Jesus. Joseph too may have had his moments of doubt, moments when he started to sink.
During his life, Joseph De Piro administered six orphanages, he ministered to the members of his society, was secretary to the archbishop, rector at the Maltese diocesan major seminary, and helped during the riots on 7th June 1919. Where there moments when Jesus would have challenged De Piro for his lack of faith, or would he have rather praised him for his faithfulness?
We can reflect on this question, and as we answer, we need to support our responses with reference to De Piro’s life and activities.