Daily Reflection – 12/3/2020
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)
Words have a powerful effect. They can build up, they can destroy. They can be truth, they can be false.
We all know it and we all have experienced it. Words dripping with honey but when we taste them, they are bitter. Words spoken in praise of God but there is nothing behind them. Words preaching equality for all while hiding the sour taste of actions that are anything but. Words spoken in Church which mask a life that denies the very meaning of Christianity.
Words that are not matched by action.
St Ignatius wrote that love is found in deeds rather than in words. Our action speaks far more volumes than our words. No matter how many times we go to our churches to worship God and as long as it is superficial it has no meaning. We can fall on our knees every day in prayer but as soon as we rise, our language and criticism of others and their actions bespeak the rage in our hearts. Jesus tells us that is the type of “house” which will be washed away. A true working faith is something that bears witness to Jesus long after we get up off our knees.
There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you? Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself.
Look around us today. Our society is deeply polarized. Words of faith are bandied about. Yet, vile characterizations are thrown out so easily that even the word “vitriol” pales. We can’t live there. We can’t retreat to our homes, falsely claiming that we can ignore it because it doesn’t affect us. It does affect and infect us. For ourselves and for our eternal lives, we MUST match our words with actions that speak of Christ.
Christian words spoken without Christ, without a relationship with Christ, without love for Jesus Christ are meaningless. Here is something we need to hold onto: It’s not what we do in the name of the Lord that matters; it’s what the Lord does in our life. When we step aside from our pride, our vanity, our pettiness and let His love open our hearts and build a foundation, then and only then will we know the peace of Christ. Then and only then have we built the foundations of our hearts on solid rock. Then and only then will be become truly Christian. Then and only then will our words and actions be in concert with His love.
Is your house of faith solidly anchored on the rock that is Jesus or is it still shakily planted in the sand?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom, foresight, and strength of character I need to do what is right and good and to reject whatever is false and contrary to your will. May I be a doer of your word and not a hearer only”.
To be a follower of Jesus means that behaviors and actions–the manner in which we live out our daily lives–are the artifacts of the inner life of faith. More to the point, mere words, performance of deeds, even miraculous ones done in the name of Jesus, or random deeds of mercy will not affect one’s eternal destiny. Religiosity will not help either. It’s only when our deeds driven by a Christ filled heart are matched by our hearts.