The theme for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany is that Jesus Our Lord commands the ungovernable forces in nature; the fury of the sea and the violence of the winds. He manifests in this act His Divinity and the Church takes a portion from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, where he teaches that Christ came to save all men, for all are called to enter His kingdom and to be incorporated into His mystical Body. Further, the Apostle shows that this precept of the Gospel is not at variance with the Mosaic law, which was already contained in the double commandment to love God and one’s neighbour. The fulfilment of this commandment is the surest way to secure a merciful judgement at the end of the world.
To command the waves is regarded in Holy Scripture as a property of the divine power: “Thou who stillest the waves thereof,” for man is powerless in the face of angry waters and stormy winds. “But He Himself slept,” says St. Jerome, and the disciples drew near and roused Him, saying, “Lord, save us.” In the story of Jonas we see a type of this miracle, when in the midst of danger and of general fear while, sleeping peacefully he was awakened, and by the mysterious secret of his “passion” delivered those who roused him” (Second nocturn). In the same way Jesus, risen from the sleep of death frees all who turn to Him and who, as St. Gregory says, “overwhelmed by the consequences of their sins, crushed beneath the weight of morality, find themselves beyond their own control, at the mercy of change and corruption. The elect now weighed down by suffering and shame shall be delivered, and rising one day with Christ they will see their human nature now liable to corruption, raised to the glory of the sons of God. It is with reason that St. Paul fervently longing for eternal joys, though still laden with the burden of mortality cries:” I long to be dissolved and to be with Christ” (Third nocturn).
“Whether He chides His creatures or commands them,” says St. Jerome, “they all feel the effects of His rule and own Him as their Creator; for those creatures which to us are inanimate under the sovereignty of their Maker are responsive to Him” (Third nocturn).
INTROIT Psalm 96:7-8
Adore God, all you His angels: Sion hears and is glad, and the cities of Juda rejoice. Ps 96:1 The Lord is King; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Adore God, all you His angels: Sion hears and is glad, and the cities of Juda rejoice.
O God, You Who know that our human frailty cannot stand fast against the great dangers that beset us, grant us health of mind and body, that with your help we may overcome what we suffer on account of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Collect for the Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, mother of God, of St Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving-kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
Collect for God’s Holy Church
Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy Church that, having overcome all adversity and every error, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Romans 13:8-10
Lesson from the letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans: Brethren: Owe no man anything except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the Law. For You shall not commit adultery. You shall not kill. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. You shall not covet; and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no evil to a neighbour. Love therefore is the fulfilment of the Law.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 101:16-17
The nations shall revere Your name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory. V. For the Lord has rebuilt Sion, and He shall appear in His glory. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 96:1 The Lord is King; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 8:23-27
At that time, Jesus got into a boat, and His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but He was asleep. So they came and woke Him, saying, Lord, save us! we are perishing! But He said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm. And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 117:16-17
The right hand of the Lord has struck with power: the right hand of the Lord has exalted me; I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the offering of this sacrifice may always cleanse and strengthen the weakness of our nature. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Secret for the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, and, by virtue of this Sacrament, defend us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing upon us Thy grace here and Thy glory hereafter.
Secret for God’s Holy Church
Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that, cleaving to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 4:22
All marvelled at the words that came from the mouth of God.
May Your gifts, O God, free us from the attraction of earthly pleasures and give us new strength through Your heavenly nourishment. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Postcommunion for the Saints
May the gift of this Divine Sacrament which we have offered, cleanse us and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, of St. Joseph, of Thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, free us from all iniquity and deliver us from all adversity.
Postcommunion for God’s Holy Church
O Lord our God, we pray Thee that Thou suffer not to succumb to human hazards those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of divine mysteries. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.