REFLECTION FOR TODAY
December 2, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“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.” Matt. 7:24-25.
Religion does not consist in pious words, but in doing the will of the Father. Trust in the Lord is the only firm foundation for the house of our faith. Jesus gives us two admonitions today, that we must match our profession of Faith with actual obedience to the will of God, and that we must build our life on the firm foundation of Jesus’ teachings. Worship of God without commitment to the word of God is hypocrisy.
Sincerity in a Christian can be demonstrated not by what one says but by what one does. Fine words can never be a substitute for fine deeds. Thus, today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ call to authentic discipleship based on the strong foundation of Gospel teaching. Acting on the words of Christ shows the authenticity of one’s Christian commitment. Jesus, the rock of our lives, wants to reveal Himself more fully to us this advent so that we would learn to base our lives on Him completely. He is our immovable strength, our only sure foundation, and in Him we are equipped with many blessings, among which are peace, joy, and unity.
Jesus contrasts a wise man who practices what he believes with a fool who does not practice his religious beliefs, using the images of one man who built his house on firm rock and another who built his house on loose sand in summer. Only a house with solid and firm foundation can resist the storm and flood, and only a person whose life has strong spiritual foundations can stand the test. Building on loose sand is the way to destruction. Thus, the two builders sum up two ways – the way of perfect righteousness and the way of self-righteousness. On the Day of Judgment, the first will stand; the second will fall.
The imagery Jesus uses is quite descriptive. A house built on sand is very different than a house built on solid rock. One can only imagine the problems that await a house built on sand. Every storm that comes will cause great anxiety and worry. Fear will always be present as the sandy foundation slowly erodes away. But if the house is on solid rock, there is great confidence during a storm.
As Christian we need to synchronize our practice of the Faith with our profession of it: The test of our Christianity is the effect it has in our homes and workplaces and on our relationships with friends and neighbors. The great test is the care and consideration we show to our neighbors, many of whom commonly experience the absence of affection, of words of encouragement and of forgiveness. We need to build our families on strong foundations: There can be no great marriage and no great family without a solid foundation. Such a foundation exists when the husband and wife are the love of Christ for each other and for their children in deeds as well as in words. Our culture and nation also need strong foundations based on the moral law of God and love of Jesus Christ, and this is possible only if our families are built on these foundations.
Reflect, today, upon the foundation of your life. Advent is a time when we examine whether the foundation of our life is Jesus. He entered our world and took on flesh so that He could be that rock foundation. And the path to that rock foundation is to listen, comprehend and act. Set your “house” on Him in this way and no storm will erode the foundation of your life.
Lord, may Your peace fall upon all people of goodwill this Christmas, starting with me. With confidence may I turn to You in prayer, with diligence listen to Your word and with joy put them into practice. May Your human life become the foundation of my life. May my life be built upon You who are the Rock Foundation. Jesus, I trust in You.