Illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of Matthew 7:21-27
Words, actions and discipleship! Beginning with the Sermon on the Mount five weeks ago, the Gospels of the subsequent Sundays dealt with a deeper explanation of that special teaching by Jesus. This Sunday’s Gospel is from the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount.
In this passage of the Gospel, Jesus talks about faith – how it involves hearing and acting on his teachings. Jesus came because he wants us to “have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10); he wants to prepare us to receive the gift of eternal life. He explains that our faith, like a house built on a firm foundation, will hold strong during tough and troubling times if we listen to his words and act on and live by them – strengthened by his grace and by prayer and the sacraments.
Jesus desires to have a vital and personal relationship with us. He said, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love” (Jn 15:10). To be a disciple of Jesus and to remain in his love means to put faith in action; to live according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit which we hear in the Ten Commandments and teachings of the church, in God’s words spoken in Scripture and in our own hearts.
Pope Benedict XVI in one of his general audiences teaching about the founding of the church said, “Thus, the church, despite all the human frailties that mark her historical profile, is revealed as a marvelous creation of love, brought into being to bring Christ close to every man and every woman who truly desires to meet him, until the end of time. And in the church, the Lord always remains our contemporary. The Lord does not speak in the past but speaks in the present, he speaks to us today, he enlightens us, he shows us the way through life, he gives us communion, fellowship with the Trinity and with one another, and thus he prepares us and opens us to peace.”
Lent begins next week – 40 days the church sets aside from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday as preparation for the glorious feast of Easter. Lent is a time for more prayer, growth in learning about Jesus, sacrifice and unselfish sharing of Jesus’ love with others. Get ready for the continuing journey in discipleship.