“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.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with this teaching about the two foundations.
As He has taught his disciples what values they must have, and how they must act, in order to be happy, now and forever, Jesus closes with several teachings on the consequences of our choices to follow Him or reject Him.
I use the word “choices” because it’s not a one and done choice. We choose to follow or reject Jesus by our thoughts, words and deeds many times throughout the day. Jesus calls us to take up the cross and live the gospel each day. He has startling words for us: “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.” (Matthew 7:21)
Jesus loves us with a depth we can only begin to imagine when we think about His Passion. But because He loves us and He calls us to share in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He doesn’t accept complacency from us. He calls us to greater heights of holiness, of selflessness. This is the will of our Heavenly Father. These are the heights He calls us to ascend to, always leading us, always picking us up when we stumble, but still leading us higher, to the Father.
Nor does Jesus promise that the journey will be easy. The implication of the parable of the two foundations is that storms are going to come. That part is a given. The variable is the foundation of our house. Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) His words can be likened to rock because they are firm and unchanging. They are true in our time and for all time. When we hold fast to His words our house (our heart) will find its comfort even in the strongest of storms.
Conversely, if we grasp on to sand, if we fall for the latest fad or philosophy, or bury ourselves in the duties or distractions of this world, when the storm comes we will find the ground blowing away at our feet. Our house (our heart) will have nothing to guard it from the wind and the rain.
As with all of the Sermon on the Mount, the words of Jesus are a sure path to Heaven, but they are intended for our happiness here and now as well. We have all been hit by the storm in the past few months, some harder than others. The peace of knowing that Jesus is in the boat with us, that all things are working for His purpose, and that He will calm the wind and lead us safely to shore, is an immeasurable blessing. It is the gift of faith, given by our loving Father.
May the peace of Jesus see us through the storm and inspire us always to do the will of our Heavenly Father. Send your Spirit upon us, O Jesus, that we may console your Sacred Heart in our thoughts, words and deeds this day.
Image: Jesus teaches by the sea by James Tissot (downloaded from Wikipedia Commons).