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Matthew 7:21, 24-27

The Word of God

'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.'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!' 

Matthew 7:21, 24-27
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    • “Only one who does the will of my Father” - what is that will? That we are filled with the spirit of the Kingdom and work to make this a reality in our world which involves constant outreach beyond ourselves. We have to go to God by finding him present in the world around us and helping others to be aware of that loving presence also. We will not do that by piously calling on God’s name while ignoring the needs of our brothers and sisters. To do that is to build our house on sand.
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    • Listening challenges us as we are asked to give the attention to another. Hearing the message invites a response, an inner change, not just an outer one. Putting God’s word into practice provides a solid foundation in life that can stand against any challenge. Failure to do that leads to short-term decisions the results of which crumble easily.
    • I can ask myself – how does my relationship with the Lord influence my decisions and ask for the Lord’s help with it? I am invited to listen to the Lord and the different ways the Lord speaks to me. The message is – speak, Lord your servant is listening, not listen Lord, your servant is speaking. I pray for the freedom to listen and to respond as the Lord desires.
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    • St Ignatius also taught that love is expressed more in deeds than in words. Without good deeds there is no real life at all!
    • This is our life; listening to the word of God and doing it. We are building up the Church, the Body of Christ, founded on the rock of Peter.
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    • The “houses” in this narrative are people’s lives. Nobody else can build our life for us. It is we who must choose what kind of foundations we will use – the shifting sands or the solid rock. If the houses represent our lives, then the Bible makes clear what the rock is: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress”.
    • Lord, grant that I may build my life securely on your unchanging, immutable Word, that no storm can shake, no floods overwhelm, no vicissitudes destroy.
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    • Prayer by itself can be a bit like saying ‘Lord, Lord’. That is why I need to bring my life into my prayer, so that I can be changed, to know and do God’s will.
    • We are listening to Jesus’ words, mulling them over to let them penetrate into our hearts. Let’s ask him to help us put them into practice like the wise builder in the Gospel.
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    • The Lord is the everlasting Rock, says the prophet Isaiah, so trust in the Lord for ever. “For he has brought low the inhabitants of the height; the lofty city he lays low.”. But the faithful ones, on the other hand, can say, “he sets up victory like walls and bulwarks…we have a strong city” (Isaiah 26). Any moment now, he’s going to come and surround us with protection.
    • It is the Lord who is ‘the rock of ages’ – a still point, though the centuries swirl around. The Lord is a solid centre that we can build our life on. If we are faithful to the Lord, the Lord is faithful to us.
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    • Jesus, true discipleship is as strong as the foundation on which it is built. You call me not merely to hear your word but to daily put it into action.
    • Lord, Francis Xavier experienced the rains of misfortune and floods of disaster as he worked to spread your work. When I am threatened by disasters that seek to smother, overwhelm my faith in you, keep me firm, keep me rooted in you, my rock!
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    • You see charismatic preachers who can rouse a whole congregation to wave their arms, pray with tongues and chant in ecstasy. That is a blessing, a gift of God that lifts us out of ourselves. But it is empty and false if our lives do not reflect the Gospel, if we do not hear Jesus’ words and act on them.
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    • We all know that actions speak louder than words. We are told here that our eternal life depends upon our ability to act according to God’s will. It is a stark message, but it is reassuring to know that our true efforts will reap their own rewards.
    • I am challenged by Jesus to take time daily to reflect and discern the Father’s will. Otherwise I will live a shallow life that will not survive the floods and storms of life.
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    • This gospel comes towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount, described by American President Thomas Jefferson as ‘the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered’. Jesus reminds us that it is not enough to hear the word of God; we must put it into practice.
    • The houses built by the wise and foolish persons probably looked very similar. The difference was in the foundations, but that was only revealed when a storm came. Do I relate to the foolish builder who takes short cuts for quick results? Or to the wise builder who is content to spend time in digging hidden but secure foundations?
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    • St Ignatius remarks that love is found in deeds rather than in words. Jesus praises good deeds over good intentions that are not carried out. I pray to be like a good servant who does the work assigned me by God.
    • It is comforting in troubled situations to remember that God is rock solid. He is totally dependable and his words will always help me. I ask for grace always to trust in God no matter what may fall apart.
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    • Hearing or reading the Word is important, but is not the end. I take time to let the Word of God settle into the shape of my life. I take care not to let it merely stay in my mind, but to let it touch my heart and desires. I ask God to help me be present to the Word.
    • My words are part of my response to God but I realise that it is not just the saying of words that is important. I ask for sincerity and integrity, that my words not remain sounds but that they be backed up by my way of living.