‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”
‘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!’
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
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 approvedhttp://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The recent floods and wildfires in the U.S. across the west and Midwest point to the vulnerability of even the sturdiest structures in the face of rising water and fiery winds. Jesus injunction that we build our “house on rock” takes on new meaning in the face of such natural disasters.
But notice that Jesus speaks of this wise builder as someone who has heard the words Jesus speaks and embodies them in faith-filled daily action. This in contrast to the person who remains at the fringes of faith and only cries out Lord, Lord! when faced with some personal crisis.
The challenge of belief becomes real in the midst of adversity and loss. It is at such times that we come to understand that daily practice of our faith really does make a big difference. Like the athlete who trains each day unseen by her fans, or the pianist who practices those frustrating Hanon exercises, relationship with our God grows strong through familiar daily conversation and prayer.
In what ways do I open my heart to God’s gentle influence and action? How do I let the Lord find me in the midst of my daily routine?
—Christopher Staab, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago IL
With St. Paul we pray: “I keep going on to try to win the prize for which “Christ Jesus has already won me to himself…So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above.” (Philippians 3)
—The Jesuit Prayer Team