Thursday - 1st Week of Advent
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
to those who trust in you
and live the gospel of your Son,
you are a dependable rock.
In the storms and tensions of our times,
may our faith never waver,
but give us the courage
to live as we believe,
that with your Son we may do your will
and live in your love now and for ever.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 7, 21.24-27
'It is not anyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.
'Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock.
Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.
But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand.
Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!'
Today’s Gospel narrates the end of the Discourse on the Mountain. The discourse on the Mountain is a new reading of the Law of God. It begins with the Beatitudes (Mt 5, 1-12) and ends with the house built on the rock.
• It is a question of acquiring the true wisdom. A source of wisdom is the Word of God expressed in the Law of God. True Wisdom consists in listening to and practicing the Word of God (Lk 11, 28). It is not sufficient to say: “Lord, Lord!” The important thing is not to say beautiful words about God, but rather to do the Will of the Father and, therefore, to be a revelation of his love and his presence in the world.
• The one who listens to and practices the Word, constructs the house on the rock. The solidity of the house does not come from the house in itself, but rather from the land, from the rock. What does the rock signify? It is the experience of God’s love revealed in Jesus (Rm 8, 31-39). There are some persons who practice the Word in order to merit God’s love. But love is not bought, purchased, neither do we merit it. (sg 8, 7). The love of God is received gratuitously. Let us put into practice the Word not to merit love, but to say thank you for the love we have received. This is the good earth, the rock, which gives security to the house. The true security comes from the certainty of God’s love! It is the rock which sustains us in the moments of difficulty and in storms.
• The Evangelist ends the discourse of the Mountain (Mt 7, 27-28) saying that the crowds remained admired by the teaching of Jesus, because “he taught with authority, and not like the Scribes”. The result of the teaching of Jesus is the critical awareness of the people concerning religious authority of the time. Admired and grateful, the people approved the beautiful and diverse teaching of Jesus.
4) Personal questions
• Am I among those who say “Lord, Lord”, or among those who put the Word into practice?
• Do I observe the Law in order to merit love and salvation or in order to thank God for his love and his salvation?
5) Concluding Prayer
O Lord, grant salvation!
O Lord, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Ps 118)