Reflection on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 10th Feb 2019

Put Out Into Deep Waters

Jesus called Peter, James and John to something completely different to what they knew. When he said, ‘Put out into the deep’, Jesus was saying, ‘I am taking you into unknown territory, into something you are not familiar with; but I will bring great things out of this if you trust me.’ The Lord is also saying something similar to us. Life is a constant ‘launching out’, being taken out of comfort zones and experiencing a loss of control. The Lord is saying to us not to be afraid of ‘deep waters’, of the unknown, of what can be very frightening. He is with us. Not only that, but if we trust him, He can bring great good out of it. To enable us to grow, God often has to lead us to places and situations that we would rather avoid.

The unseen boundary between two worlds is known as threshold. This symbolic line marks the division between who we are now and who we will become. The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word limens, meaning “threshold.” A liminal space, the place of transition, waiting, and not knowing is a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run, you will do anything to flee from this terrible cloud of unknowing.

These thresholds of waiting and not knowing our “next” are everywhere in life and they are inevitable. Each ushers in a new chapter of life, and each holds varying degrees of disruption. Whether it is graduation, a new job and career, being overwhelmed by debt, new homes, new cities, marriage, divorce, sickness, life stages, changing friendships – all will disorient us for a while, regardless of our awareness during the transition. Liminality requires acceptance of mystery and a heart full of trust. The challenge is to give ourselves fully to the process of change while being unsure and unclear of how this liminal time will affect our future.

During these times of mystery our prayer must be a simple request: that we be reminded that we have not been abandoned; that we hear the sometimes tiny voice within that whispers wordlessly, “You are always loved. You are never alone.”

Various sources