Fr. Liam Ryan wasn't afraid to rescue a surfer from the killer shark! He was a daring priest inspired by the divine teachings of Lord Jesus Christ that one must propitiously act to help others whenever it is possible so as to emulate the grand Biblical message of love.
Fr. Ryan has received the impressive Australian Bravery Award for paddling out to sea and rescuing a surfer who was trying to fend off the attack of a five-meter white shark. The event happened on July 31, 2020, when 28-year-old surfer Phil Mummert was 100 meters from shore in Bunker Bay, Western Australia. As providence would have it, Fr. Ryan was also in the area.
Fr. Ryan said, “I was holidaying down south with my best mate Jess Woolhouse and his family, and we decided to go for quick surf at Bunker Bay.” He added, “We had not been in the water long and were paddling back out to catch our second wave, when I noticed the dorsal fin of a five-meter great white shark surfacing next to a surfer. The shark lunged at the surfer, biting into his surfboard and lower leg, tipping the surfer into the water.”
Mummert was able to place half his bitten off board into the shark’s mouth and was left in fear as the huge shark continued to circle him. Thankfully Fr. Ryan, his friend and a further surfer, Alex Oliver, paddled out to help the injured surfer, and no doubt with a little divine intervention, Mummert was rescued.
Fr. Ryan's reaction was spontaneous as his message as "a man of faith" urged him to act swiftly without hesitation. However, he was willing to give his life in order to save the surfer who was in trouble. The question that arises in this regard is "what if someone knowingly gives us one's life to save another person or rather save all creatures in this world?"
This argument draws us close to the Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly died on the Cross to save all the people who believe in Him all the time and until the indefinite end of our world. He died on the Cross, yet He rose from the dead to give free eternal life to all who believe in Him and walk in His steps.
Jesus is the promised Messiah who came to this world to seek and save sinners. Based on the fact that we all have sinned, we can never pay the penalty of our sins with our own works which are limited and imperfect. That is why; we all need the holy, perfect, infinite man Jesus Christ who died in our place. His death is the only acceptable offering and the only way of our salvation. The death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ bring about the redemption of sinners and the destruction of Satan. In this way we are not only saved from the bondage of sin, but we are also promised eternal life and security with H im.
Thanking Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of sins through His blood, we pray saying," Lord Jesus Christ, we believe that You were born free of sin, died on the Cross as a payment for our own sins, and rose from the dead three days later. Today, we repent and turn from our old ways of life, as because of Your mercy and grace we can have genuine faith. Thank you for forgiving us and giving us eternal life. Amen.