DOERS OF THE WORD

FIRST THURSDAY OF ADVENT

SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 15:29-37

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

As a carpenter, Jesus would probably have known a thing or two about building houses. When we read the Gospel, we hear Jesus saying that those who listen and act upon his words will be like the people who built their houses on rock. They have a firm foundation and will remain strong even in bad weather. The others, who hear but do not act, will be like those who built houses on sand. When the storms come, the houses on sand will collapse. I think I remember hearing something similar in The Three Little Pigs, so what is the message Jesus is trying to share?

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I think that the message is pretty clear- we have to listen and act on the words of Jesus. Jesus says, "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.” This can sometimes feel overwhelming. What would happen if we took the message of Jesus to heart and then acted on it? Would we do as Jesus suggested to the rich young man and sell everything we have and give to the poor? Would we follow the example of Jesus and share a meal with those on the margins? Following the way of life Jesus modeled for us today would be considered radical by many, but isn’t that what we are called to do as disciples? 

I think that the message is pretty clear- we have to listen and act on the words of Jesus. Jesus says, "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.” This can sometimes feel overwhelming. What would happen if we took the message of Jesus to heart and then acted on it? Would we do as Jesus suggested to the rich young man and sell everything we have and give to the poor? Would we follow the example of Jesus and share a meal with those on the margins? Following the way of life Jesus modeled for us today would be considered radical by many, but isn’t that what we are called to do as disciples? 

I think that the message is pretty clear- we have to listen and act on the words of Jesus. Jesus says, "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.” This can sometimes feel overwhelming. What would happen if we took the message of Jesus to heart and then acted on it? Would we do as Jesus suggested to the rich young man and sell everything we have and give to the poor? Would we follow the example of Jesus and share a meal with those on the margins? Following the way of life Jesus modeled for us today would be considered radical by many, but isn’t that what we are called to do as disciples? 

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.
— James 1:22

Do we listen to the Word and then allow it to transform our hearts? How often do we hear jokes about maintaining a Christian attitude in the parking lot after mass? Under the joke lies the truth that we hear a message, but do not always act on it. It is not always easy to listen and act, but imagine what sort of place the world would be if we took to heart the message to love our neighbors. The world would be a much peaceful, loving, and forgiving place.

Advent is a time of waiting and preparing for the coming of Christ. What better way to prepare for Christ than to consider how we are living the messages he taught? This Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Jesus, what are we doing to be doers of the word and not just hearers?


CONTEMPLATION

  • What can you do this Advent to act upon the word and not just listen?

  • In the first reading, Isaiah reminds us to “Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock.” On what foundation will I build my house? When the storm comes, what will happen to my house?

  • What is one way that I can intentionally focus on the Scripture message?


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Taylor Baar is the Director of Youth Ministries at Our Lady of Lourdes in Milwaukee.