Listen to these Words

Scripture Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
(Matthew 7:21,24-27)

Scripture Study

It was not unusual for Jewish teachers to remind audiences of the two ways, or to warn against false prophets, or to stress the importance of bearing fruit in good works. But what Jesus says next is without parallel. While explaining who will enter the kingdom of heaven, he describes himself as the judge of the world on the final day of reckoning (see 16:28; 25:11–12, 31–46).

The focus is an exchange that Jesus will have with evildoers. Curiously, the sinners he addresses are not what we might expect—serial murderers, militant atheists, godless world rulers, and the like. Rather, they are individuals who lived their lives as professed Christians! These are folks who call Jesus Lord and who claim to have done miraculous works in his name. Yet, in spite of their Christian façade, the judge declares: I never knew you.

The point is that religious confession is no substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus and the obligation to obey his Father’s will. If our creed and our conduct are out of alignment, then our profession of Jesus as Lord is not a true submission to his lordship. The mere fact that believers can perform miracles in Jesus’ name, which is an exercise of charismatic grace, is no proof that sanctifying grace has penetrated their lives or brought them closer to Christ.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel asks how we apply the Lord’s teaching. “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse.” This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power which is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at the deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus’ words to heart, “will be like the fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way.

So the question is a simple one: where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 121.