Have you been at meetings where people are constantly checking their phones, or somebody keeps straining to look around the room rather than at the speaker? It’s annoying, for sure, but even more, it demonstrates how poorly focused we sometimes are.
I heard a great homily on Sunday about Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s desire to join him—-on the water! The gist was that Peter, as long as he kept his focus on Jesus, did just fine. But as soon as he became distracted—by the waves, the wind, by fear—-he started to sink. In the same way, we often let anxiety, harried schedules, routine or petty concerns divert our attention from what really matters.
We could do well to cultivate focused hearts. When tempted to complain about little things, focus instead on our suffering world (Iraq, Ukraine, Africa, St. Louis!). Work at listening to the unspoken cries of others, rather than allowing petty, self-centered needs absorb us. When frazzled by so much to do, stop several minutes to breathe and just be with the God who dwells within us.
Peter learned many lessons in his lifetime. With the wisdom of experience, he wrote, “pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:16) I think he meant the same thing as is written elsewhere in Scripture: “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” Staying focused is what it’s all about.