Here we have the famous story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a cautionary tale about hospitality and the ways of the wicked, as well as doing exactly what God (or his angels) tell you to do.
Then we get a very interesting narrative as to how Moab and Ben-ammi came to be. Considering that Lot's daughters had a rough couple of days preceding these events (lost their future husbands, lost their mother, lost the city they had known most, if not all of their lives, relocated to a place where they were afraid for their lives...) perhaps we can be forgiving of their very poor judgement.
Lucky Psalm 13 is another short one (a six verse wonder?) In it, David is lamenting the fact that God does not answer all prayers immediately. Still, even after five verses of doom and gloom lament, the Psalm ends on a happy note (if you'll excuse the pun), as he gathers courage in his trust of God's love, and states that he "will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me."
Matthew certainly doesn't waste parchment. We have a short account of folks wanting to follow him, and Jesus appearing somewhat harsh toward them. But we have to look at what He is trying to say, that is, that we must be prepared to follow Him at all costs. Risking the loss of a heavenly destination for worldly concerns doesn't make sense.
Then we get into the boat and have Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. "What wort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" This is certainly something we can bear in mind as we make our way through life...there is no storm in our lives that Jesus can't calm. When we panic, or freak out over something that has happened, perhaps we can turn to Him and He will say "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?" If Jesus is with us, truly he can calm our fears just as he did the stormy sea.
And finally, the expelling of demons from two demoniacs in Gadarenes. The dialogue here is telling, where the demons cry out "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" It seems the demons didn't expect this...what a shock. They beg to be put into a herd of swine, instead of simply cast out, and Jesus grants them their request. Of course, the swine then drown...so it seems not to have been *much* better for the demons.
Oddly enough, the inhabitants of the city beg Jesus to leave after this episode. Perhaps they were upset over their pigs...or perhaps they were afraid because Jesus had dominion over the demons.
What stands out here is the three legged stool of the Church - The Magisterium, The Scriptures, and the sacred Tradition, all serving God by preserving His revelation and teaching it to us. "Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."
Many protestant sects have been born out of the lack of a central authority to interpret the scriptures and to preserve and pass on a sacred Tradition. God wanted us to be united, and this particular fruit of protestantism is one of its greatest signs that it is not from God (this is not to say that protestants are not good people, or don't love Jesus with their whole heart, or that the Holy Spirit can't work in those churches, but simply that the creation of protestant sects is a human, not divine endeavor) . While the Catholic Church in its human administration is far from perfect (and don't we know it!), with regard to its authority and consistent teaching over 2000 years, it is in fact a divine institution and free from error with regard to its scope.
As Fr. Dave Dwyer of Busted Halo would say: "Three simple words: Thanks be to God!"
Happy Friday, everyone!