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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Building On Rock (Thought for the Day Part 39)

Gospel reading: Matthew 7:21-27

Jesus has some sobering words for us today. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (v.21a). So these are avowed Christians, who call Jesus Lord. Now let us not talk about the really bad Christians (murderers, rapists, abortionists). Let us not even talk about the nominal Catholic who does not fully live out his faith. We are talking about those who profess to follow and serve Jesus. In fact, let us talk about those who do great deeds in his name. Jesus says that those people will bank on their deeds to be able to enter 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?’” (v.22). They will say this with pride, with a smug smile, with great expectation as to their reward. Well, they are in for the shock of their lives. Jesus says, “Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (v.23).

I never knew you? Depart from me? You evildoers? Whoa! That is being zapped by a thunderbolt!

What is Jesus saying? It is not what we do, but who we are or what we become, that will determine whether we can enter heaven. Jesus was talking about prophets who lived evil lives. They were morally corrupt prophets and miracle workers. So that is possible? Yes! There will be many Catholics out there looking good on the outside, making their mark in service to the Church, being able to do even admirable deeds, but who will not make it into the Kingdom, because they are not living truly Christian lives.

Who then can enter? Jesus says it plainly: “only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (v.21b). How do we know the will of the Father? Some Catholic lay leaders say abortion is OK. Some priests say same-sex unions are OK. Some bishops say contraception is OK. What is OK? We must go to God’s word, and that is in the Bible. What must we do to do the will of the Father? What is the Father’s will?

First, that we grow in holiness and Christian perfection. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48). The life of a Christian should be a life of striving for holiness and sanctity.

Second, that we are not only to love God with our all but also to love our neighbor as ourselves. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk 12:31). This includes our enemy! “But I say to you, love your enemies” (Mt 5:44a).

Third, that we are to participate in the work of evangelization. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15). Every Christian must become an evangelizer.

There are many other things that constitute the Father’s will, such as love and care for the poor, detachment, forgiveness, self-denial, embrace of the cross, etc. Notice: all these are what most Christians today are generally not doing! Many of them do not even really know about these things!

Is that not why there is general moral breakdown in the world today? The God-given prescriptions for a just and peaceful society are simply not in place. Most people in the world are violative of these principles. The words of Jesus have been around for almost two millennia and people have heard what he says but have not acted on his words; they are fools who have built their houses on sand (v.26). And so families are collapsing, and societies are collapsing.

What then are we to do? “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (v.24). Listen to what Jesus says. Act on what Jesus says.

Darkness is upon the world. Strong storm winds are buffeting faith, family and life. A tsunami of evil is overwhelming the whole earth. Jesus is our only protection. “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.” (v.25).

Jesus is the Rock.

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