Thursday, December 3, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent
Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Holy Gospel: Matthew 7:21, 24-27 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.”
Meditation: Since most of us are not in the construction business, some might ask what the significance is of this story? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms and challenges of life that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. 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; same with building them on ground level next to the beach, versus up on stilts. Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees each of our hearts as they truly are – with all of our motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2).
Prayer: O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier won many peoples to yourself, grant that the hearts of the faithful may burn with the same zeal for the faith and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice in an abundance of offspring. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: There is sure way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by the way one lives one’s life – their habits, their practices, the choices they make. Talk is cheap; words can never replace good deeds. And so looking back on our lives we can ask: Did I cheat on an exam or on my income taxes? Did I lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth would have caused me injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself – all of the time, not just when it is convenient. His or her word can be counted on – his or her word is a bond that can be trusted. If we heed God’s word and live according to it then we need not fear when storms assail us. God will be our rock and our refuge. Two more questions to think about: Is my life built upon the sure “rock” of Jesus Christ? Do I listen to his word as if my very life (and eternal life) life depended on it?