Think of God's mercy, my brothers, and worship him, I beg you, in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God. Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.
Do not let your love be a pretence, but sincerely prefer good to evil. Love each other as much as brothers should, and have a profound respect for each other. Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great earnestness of spirit. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. If any of the saints are in need you must share with them; and you should make hospitality your special care.
I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad. (R./)
Revere the Lord, you his saints.
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing. (R./)
Come, children, and hear me
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life
and many days, to enjoy his prosperity. (R./)
Then keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good;
seek and strive after peace. (R./)
When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side. One of the scribes then came up and said to him, "Master, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, "Sir, let me go and bury my father first." But Jesus replied, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead."
Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, "Save us, Lord, we are going down!" And he said to them, "Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?" And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, "Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him."
Inf Matthew's time the story of the storm at sea would have resonated with the readers' own experience. They would often have found themselves praying the prayer of the disciples in the boat, "Save us, Lord, we are going down." We may have prayed a version of that prayer ourselves, either in relation to our own personal lives or in relation to the life of the church as a whole. Jesus addresses his fearful disciples as people of "little faith." They are somewhere between no faith and full faith. Many of us can find ourselves in that in-between place, people of little faith, especially when the storms threaten to engulf us. We can easily identify with the prayer of the man in the gospels, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief." Jesus, who had been asleep in the storm, brought the fragile boat with its fearful disciples through the storm into a place of calm. In stormy times that expose our vulnerability and frailty, the Lord remains with the church and with each of us as individuals, keeping us steady and guiding us to our destination. This passage would have reassured Matthew's church and can reassure us today that the Lord is always stronger than the storm which threatens to overwhelm us.