June 26, 2008
Thursday of the twelfth week in ordinary time
Matthew 7: 21-29
"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. 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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I place myself in your presence. I have set aside this moment for you, so that you can speak to me and I can listen to your words. Speak to my heart! I believe that you are present, with all the graces I need right now, in the current circumstances of my life. I hope in you, Lord, because I know I cannot place my hope in the things of the world. I love you, Lord, and I know how much you love me.
Petition: Lord God, help me to build my life on rock.
1. Lord, Lord or lord, lord? "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.” Wherever Jesus went, large crowds cried out to him, “Lord, Lord!” Yet, where were these crowds when Jesus hung on the cross? Where were they when the miracles were gone? What the crowd really wanted was more bread; they wanted more show; they wanted an earthly king. In short, they wanted their own will and satisfaction—they clamored “Lord, Lord,” but never accepted Christ’s lordship over their lives. As Jesus hung on the cross, abandoned by almost everyone, he turned to the good thief and promised him paradise. Suffering beside him, this thief underwent a true conversion, precisely the kind our Lord was looking for. He did not ask Christ for a miracle to relieve him of his cross, rather he asked that God’s will be done, and so he was granted heaven. Jesus was true to his word.
2. God First “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.” We can teach catechism, join a religious movement, be on the parish council, help at soup kitchens, or even be ordained a priest; but, do we know Christ? Are we striving to have a true, personal, intimate friendship with Jesus? Are we allowing Christ’s teaching to soak into every fiber of our life? This passage is a wake-up call to all of us involved in good works. We need to be on guard never to neglect God because of the work we do for God: that is, subtly allow what we do to become more important than the one we do it for.
3. Building on Solid Ground “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.” Christ is the true foundation of our life; yet this is a foundation we ourselves have to lay by maintaining a constant prayer life, finding time for silence and reflection on Scripture, going to the Sacraments, and strengthening our will through small sacrifices. This foundation is laid in the peace before the storm. When the ferocious floods, rains and winds arrive, it’s too late to lay a foundation—what has been built is all we have to rely on for safety. Christ reminds us to build on solid ground now so as to be prepared for the storms that lie ahead.
Dialogue with Christ: ”DISCIPLE: Enlighten me, Lord Jesus, with the brightness of eternal light and dispel all the darkness of my heart. Restrain my wayward thoughts and destroy all violent temptations which attack me. Command the winds and the storms of pride to cease; say to the sea of worldly desires: be still; and to the north wind: do not blow! Then there will be peace and tranquility” (Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 23)
Resolution: I will make a sacrifice today for the good of others today.
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