Thursday of the First Week of Advent

Image result for 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."

Gospel MT 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.”

Reflection

Today’s readings are especially poignant for us in these times we find ourselves in. Our psalm response is, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Also, in today’s Gospel, “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…”

We are bombarded with a cacophony of voices. Social media is chock full of opposing arguments and controversy for almost every issue under the sun from pure nonsense like which bathroom to use to more important and harrowing issues like climate change and serious local, national and world issues. The news, real or fake, blasts at us 24 hours a day. Furious, angry, inflamed politicians, leaders, celebrities and passionate others dominate the screens of our televisions and computers.  Confused sometimes, I can read one side’s position and find the seed of what they are saying and then I can read the opposing view and find the seed of what they are saying.

So, I find myself asking that important question. Who do I believe? Who is right? Who should I trust? Who should I put my faith in? Who is “coming in the name of the Lord” and who isn’t? Who is speaking with values that resonate with the mandates of Our Lord’s Gospel? How do I know which voice saying “Lord, Lord” is a Spirit-filled voice and not a false prophet?

As today’s gospel progresses, our Lord gives us some advice. Build on rock– solid, sturdy, impervious foundations. Very easy to visualize when it comes to construction. A little more imagination, insight and discernment is required when we apply the metaphor to our spiritual lives.

It seems to me that a good personal foundation is a good spiritual foundation.

  • Is Christ the center of all aspects our lives or someone we compartmentalize to think about on Sunday? (You are here reading this on Thursday, Dec 5th, so chances are good you have a head start on this one.) Is Jesus truly the Lord of our whole life or just parts of it?
  • How is your prayer life? Is it well rounded? Do you engage in private, meditative, centered prayer? Do you supplement that through participation in prayer groups or scripture study groups where the “voice of God” spoken through others can affirm and resonate with the “voice of God” heard within our own hearts?
  • Do we practice “climate control”? That is, do we apply the apply Christ’s Barometer to our deliberations, judgments and decisions? What is Christ’s Barometer? It is His mandate, His commandment. To Love– Love God, Love our neighbor, Love the God in our neighbor.

Today I ask you to de-compartmentalize Jesus in your life. Let Him out of that little box which we often neatly tie up with a bow and place aside when not being used. Flip the lid, Pandora! Rub the lamp, Aladdin! Let him seep into and be Lord of all aspects of your life– personal, family, community. Stay close to Our Lord in prayer. Receive the Eucharist often. Study His Word in Scripture. Talk about Jesus with others. Act like Jesus— Love, love some more and love even more.

If you do, you will have a solid foundation. If you have a solid foundation, you will hear the many voices which surround you and discern with clarity. Others will recognize you as one who comes I the name of the Lord.

Action:

Take a moment and think about the day ahead and ask Jesus to truly be present in every aspect of your entire day and to show you how he would have you be someone who comes in His name.

Rev. Fr. Paul Gulya

Pastor – Sacred Heart of Jesus American National Catholic Church

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