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. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ 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.” When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.( Matthew 7:21-29)
If you have ever experienced a crisis in your life, then you can certainly relate to today’s gospel. Many people have experienced an episode in their lives when it seemed like everything was falling apart. Sometimes our lives actually do fall apart because of the death of a spouse, a divorce, the loss of a child, family member or friend. Most of us can recall at least one experience in our lives that was absolutely heartbreaking and perhaps our lives underwent a major change because of it. It wasn’t easy, was it?
Jesus talks about the storms in our lives in today’s gospel: The meaning of this verse in the gospel seems pretty simple. Our faith in God is the bedrock of our lives. We can handle whatever life throws at us, as long as we are firmly grounded in our faith in God.
The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms that are sure to come.
It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster! Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees the heart as it truly is — with its motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2).
What we put in our minds is of utmost importance. What we set in our hearts is evident to the people around us—at times, more evident than we’d like it to be. If our primary concern is our own comfort or success or influence, it will not take long for the people around us to figure that out. They only need to look at the way we make decisions, at the way we allocate our time, to discover what rules our life. To use the image of Jesus in today’s gospel: we must choose what is at the foundation of our life, what supports everything else. This is why Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are so important. He points out that what we place first, what we lay as a foundation, will make a difference. Some foundations can support a life that is rewarding and positive, and others will only lead to a life that collapses in ruins. Some foundations are of rock. Others are of sand.
What should we lay as the foundation of our life? Psalm 16 says we should place the Lord in our heart at all times, that’s God’s will should be the foundation of our lives. But what is God’s will? God’s will can so easily become a cliché. What does it mean to find God’s will? Finding God’s will is a process, a discernment. God’s will can change for us from year to year, even from day to day. God’s will is a moving target that we must locate.
But we can find the will of God if we answer two questions: What have I been given and how can I use it to build life? What have I been given? What are my gifts? What are my resources? Where is my sphere of influence? And once I recognize that, how can I use it to build life: my life, the life of others, the life of the world?
Each one of us must ask ourselves: What have I been given and how can I use it to promote life in my world? The answers to those questions will at times change, but finding those answers and implementing them will make all the difference. People around us already know what we value, what we place first. The Gospel warns us to be sure that we recognize our priorities as well. What we place at the foundation of our life will influence everything else. It will determine whether we are building our life on rock or on sand.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, you are the only foundation that can hold us up when trials and disaster threaten us. 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.”
A true person is honest and reliable before God, neighbor, and oneself. Such a person’s word can be taken as trustworthy. What can keep us from falsehood and disaster? If we make the Lord and his word the rock and foundation of our lives, then nothing can shake us or keep us from God’s presence and help.