You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
Praise the Lord, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples! (R./)
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. (R./)
Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
In face of disasters like the storm on the Lake of Galilee, God saves those who trust in him and those for whom others pray. The disciples in the boat are amazed at Jesus' power over the wind and the waves. But if people persist in cruelly sinful behaviour, unwilling to give up living off others' inhuman working conditions, then prophets like Amos are impelled by God to cry out in the name of the poor. We might say that today's readings present us with the stick and the carrot. Amos threatens God's vengeance on those who will not repent, even citing the classic ruin of Sodom and Gomorrah; while Matthew reminds us of the powerful presence of Christ to help in our time of need.
Our faith in divine providence and our prayerful disposition enables us to rise above storms and disturbances and not be swept into utter panic. As we note, the storm continues, even after the disciples waken Jesus. He asks, "Where is your courage?" The storm still rages but this time they turn anew to Jesus, not in frantic fear but in humble trust and dedication. Then he addresses the winds and the sea to calm them. Whoever "wakes up" the presence of Jesus in our heart, even if in desperation, and stays with him long enough, will gain a new self-assurance from his presence, and inner peace.
The power of a storm is well known to us. Even in Summer our weather can change suddenly. The gospel suggests that the onset of this particular storm on the Sea of Galilee was sudden--"without warning a storm broke over the lake." We know from our own life experience that our own personal circumstances can change without warning. We can suddenly find ourselves in the midst of some raging personal storm. One day all is well; the next day we are in crisis. To that extent the gospel today speaks to our own personal experience. Matthew's way of telling the story of the storm at sea links it much more closely to the experience of the people who made up the church than Mark's way, telling the same story. The cry of the disciples in Matthew's account, "Save us, Lord, we are going down" is very much the cry of those for whom Matthew was writing his gospel. It is the cry of us all at some time in our lives. Matthew seeks to reassure us that the Lord will respond to such a cry; our prayer for help in vulnerable times will not go unanswered. The Lord is stronger than the storm that threatens, and in turning towards the Lord, we will draw from his strength.