Mar 5, 2011
(Dt.11:18,26-28,32; Ps.31:1-4,17,25; Rom.3:21-25,28; Mt.7:21-27)
“Take these words of mine into your heart and soul.”
Our first reading and gospel are virtually identical today. In one, Moses tells the Israelites: “I set before you here, this day, a blessing and a curse”; in the other, Jesus tells His disciples a parable of the same blessing and curse. Moses speaks of the “blessing for obeying the commandments of the Lord” and the “curse if [the Israelites] do not obey the commandments of the Lord”; and Jesus states clearly, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house 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 blessing and the curse – following the Word of God and not following the Word of God.
And we must note that there are two parts to be fulfilled to obtain the blessing of the Lord. In Jesus’ words, we must both “listen” and “act.” And though it seems Moses stresses acting in his call for obedience, it is his words that are quoted above – and what is it to take words into our heart and soul but to listen? The Lord must first dwell in us. As St. Paul conveys so beautifully, we “are justified freely by [the Lord’s] grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God sent forth as an expiation, through faith, by His blood,” and therefore we must listen to this grace and open ourselves always to this grace at work in our hearts. And then we must act upon it. We must hear God speaking to us and do His will. It does no good only to sit and listen, for then our faith will soon die. Nor does it do any good to act without listening to God, for then we are as an empty gong. The faith we profess must be realized in the works of the Lord; without either faith or works we have nothing at all, and find but the Lord’s curse.
Brothers and sisters, today let us call out to God with our brother David: “Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety.” Let us “take courage and be stouthearted, all [we] who hope in the Lord.” For if we take His words to heart and if we do the will of God, we will be “set solidly on rock.” Indeed it shall be said one day, “The rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.” All houses shall be touched thus by the hand of God. Let it be said of our house that it “did not collapse,” but – taking our strength in the Lord, dwelling in His Word – like a “fortress” stood ever in the blessing of His light.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Solid Rock, Unshakable Foundation" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.