Thursday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
guide and protector of your people,
grant us an unfailing respect for your name,
and keep us always in your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading -
Jesus said to his disciples: '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. When the day comes many
will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out
demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?"
Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never
known you; away from me, all evil doers!
'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!'
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and
his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with
authority, unlike their own scribes.
• Today’s Gospel presents the last part of
the Sermon on the Mountain: (a) it is not sufficient to talk and sing, it is necessary
to live and to practice (Mt 7, 21-23). (b) The community constructed on the
foundation of the new Law of the Discourse of the Mountain will remain standing
at the moment of the storm (Mt 7, 24-27). (c) The result of the words of Jesus
in persons is a more critical conscience, concerning the religious leaders, the
Scribes (Mt 7, 28-29).
• The end of the Sermon on the Mountain presents some opposition and
contradictions which exist even in our time: (a) Persons who continually speak
of God, but who do not do God’s will; they use the name of Jesus, but do not
practice in their life the relationship with the Lord (Mt 7, 21). (b) There are
persons who live in the illusion of working for the Lord, but on the day of the
definitive encounter with Him, they will discover, tragically, that they have
never known Him (Mt 7, 22-23). The two last words of the Sermon on the
Mountain, of the house built on the rock (Mt 7, 24-25) and of the house built
on sand (Mt 7, 26-27), illustrate these contradictions. By means of these
Matthew denounces and, at the same time, tries to correct the separation
between faith and life, between speaking and doing, between teaching and
• Matthew 7, 21: It is not sufficient to speak, it is necessary
to practice. What is important is not to speak of God in a beautiful way or
to know how to explain the Bible well to others, but rather to do the will of
the Father and, in this way be a revelation of his face and of his presence in
the world. Jesus made the same recommendation to the woman who praised Mary,
His Mother. Jesus answered: “Blessed rather those who listen to the Word of God
and put it into practice” (Lk 11, 28).
• Matthew 7, 22-23: The gifts should be at the service of the Kingdom, of the community. There
were persons with extraordinary gifts, for example the gift of prophecy, of
exorcism, of healing, but they used these gifts for themselves, outside the
context of the community. In the Day of Judgment, they will hear a hard
sentence from Jesus: “Away from me all
evil doers”. Evil, iniquity is the opposite to justice. It is to do with
Jesus what the Doctors did with the law: to teach and not to practice (Mt 23, 3).
Paul will say the same thing with other words and arguments: “Though I have the power of prophecy, to
penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith
necessary to move mountains, if I am without love, I am nothing. Though I
should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be
burned, if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever”. (1Cor
• Matthew 7, 24-27: The parable of the house built on the rock. The final conclusion
of the Sermon of the Mountain is to open oneself and to practice. Many people
searched their security in extraordinary gifts or in observance. But the true
security does not come from prestige or from observance. It comes from God! It
comes from the love of God who has loved us first (1 Jn 4, 19). His love for
us, manifested in Jesus exceeds everything (Rm 8, 38-39). God becomes source of
security when we seek to do his will. There he will be the rock which supports
us in the moments of difficulty and storm.
• Matthew 7, 28-29: To teach with authority. The Evangelist closes the Sermon of the
Mountain saying that the crowds were admired with the teaching of Jesus, “because he taught with authority, and not
like the Scribes”. The result of the teaching of Jesus is a more critical
conscience of the people in regard to the religious authority of the time. His
simple and clear words resulted from his experience of God, from his life
dedicated to the Father’s Project. People remained admired and approved the
teaching of Jesus.
the house built on the rock. In the Book of Psalms, frequently, we find the
expression: “God is my rock and my fortress…My God, my rock, my refuge, my stronghold, my saving
strength…” (Ps 18, 3). He is the defence and the strength of the one who
seeks justice (Ps 18, 21. 24). The persons who trust in this God, become, in turn,
a rock for others. Thus, the Prophet
Isaiah invites people in the exile saying: “Listen
to me you who pursue saving justice, you who seek Yahweh! Consider the rock from which you were hewn, the
quarry from which you were dug. Consider Abraham your father and Sarah who gave
you birth” (Is 51, 1-2). The prophet asks people not to forget the past.
The people should remember that Abraham and Sarah, because of their faith in
God, became rock, the beginning of the People of God. Looking toward this
rock, the people should acquire courage to struggle and to get out from
slavery. And Matthew also exhorts the community this way to have as foundation
the same rock (Mt 7, 24-25) and thus, they themselves can be rock to strengthen
their brothers and sisters in their faith. This is the sense of the name which
Jesus gave to Peter: “You are Peter and
on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16, 18). This was the vocation of the first community, called to unite
itself with God, the living rock, so as to become also a living rock, because
they listen and put into practice the Word. (P 2,4-10; 2,5; Ep 2,19-22).
• How does our community seek to balance
prayer and action, prayer and practice, to speak and to do, to teach and to
practice? What should improve in our community, so that it will be a rock, a
secure and welcoming house for all?
• Which is the rock which supports our
community? Which is the point on which Jesus insists the most?
5) Concluding Prayer
Help us, God our Saviour,
for the glory of your name;
Yahweh, wipe away our sins,
rescue us for the sake of your name. (Ps 79,9)