Scripture: Matthew 7:21-27
“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. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ “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!”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us an important life lesson: nothing happens unless we act. It isn’t enough merely to listen to Jesus. Listening is important, but it’s only the first step. As Scripture says, God’s word is living and active. It prods us into action. It is easier to talk about something than it is to roll up our sleeves and get to work. As long as seeds stay in their packet, they’ll never grow. But plant and water them, and soon a beautiful garden will grown. Our lives will bear fruit to the extent that we turn our words into deeds, —- deeds, that is, that are founded on the rock of his teaching.
In baptism, we became members of Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit. We have two choices about what we can do with the divine life given so abundantly. One choice is to let it lie dormant. If we choose that path, we’ll remain perpetual infants in the spiritual life. We’ll be like those seeds that just stay in the packet and never grow into anything. At the end of our life, we’ll say, “Lord, Lord.” But God will ask us what we did with the gift he gave us.
There is another choice: to listen to Jesus and then to act on his words. You don’t have to do big things, showy things, things that attract attention. Instead, practice love of God and love of neighbor. Pray every day. Strive to follow the commandments. Do some small act of kindness. Participate in Sunday Worship each week. If you wish to turn your life around spiritually, start with something small. Take some desire that you’ve had about growing spiritually and make it a goal. For example, have you always wanted to read the Bible through but have been daunted at its sheer size? Of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, seventeen of them have six chapters or less. Try reading a chapter a day from them first. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop.
Lord Jesus, help me to listen to the words you speak to me and to act on them. I want to put my life in your hands, and I trust in your plan for me. In the Gospel, you tell me that if I listen to your words and put them into practice, I will be like those wise persons who build their lives on rock. When the winds of life threaten to blow me down, I will not fear because you are my rock.
“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.”