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 then who hears 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 beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
The world is a dangerous place, and we all look for protection from its dangers in various ways. But the physical dangers of the world are nothing like the spiritual ones. Today’s readings tell us that we need the protection of God against the spiritual dangers and attacks that we face. The Gospel reading is the parable of the house built on rock that is able to withstand the rain, floods, and winds that come against it, while the house built on sand collapses and is destroyed. So how do we figuratively build our houses on rock, that is, make sure that our souls are firmly grounded?
It is no mystery, as Jesus tells us. To build our lives on rock, it is not enough just to listen to his words; we must act on them, too. The rock on which we seek to build is Jesus himself, who will support us and shield us from all the forces that buffet us. There is another place where Jesus speaks of building on a rock: when he says that he will build his Church on the rock of Peter.
The Church herself is then a wonderful refuge and support in our effort to be built firmly upon the rock of Christ. When we are in the Church, we know that we are securely on the rock. In the Church we can hear the word of God, and live in a community that acts on it, in particular in the Church’s worship of God in the liturgy and her evangelization and service in the world. During the season of Advent, let us make sure that we are listening to the word of Jesus, making full use of the amazing gift of the Church to keep up firmly on the rock.
—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.
Lord, you are my rock of security, my guarantee of life everlasting, my loving Father who cannot be out done in faithfulness and generosity. While calamity may strike us, while others may disappoint us, and life can drop us to our knees, your abiding presence sustains our hope. Regardless of the challenges before us, we rest in your constancy. May we be your voice of love for those searching for meaning and seeking stability in uncertain times.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team