Remember a few years ago when they had those terrible floods in Quebec? The damage from raging rivers was unbelievable. Whole towns were wiped out. I think it was in the town of Chicoutimi that an earth dam broke and the main street of the down was a scene of devastation. But from it all there was one photo that stood out. A small frame house sitting on a huge rock, everything around it has been washed away. A graphic picture that speaks so loudly to today’s words of Jesus about building your home on a rock.
If you watched the golf last weekend out of Tucson you could see the ‘washes’ on the golf course. When they have heavy rains the run offs are controlled by these washes. They save the golf course from a lot of damage. No one in his right mind would think of building a home in a wash.
It’s the same in the land of Jesus. You can see the many gullies that catch the heavy rains of the rainy season. Because it is easier to build a home in these gullies that on the rocky land, those who did so put their homes and lives at risk. People must have done so because Jesus often uses real life situations to strengthen his teachings.
Think of how demanding these words of Jesus are, it is one thing to hear powerful, wonderful, uplifting words and it is another thing to act on them. Its one thing to hear a message, it’s another thing to live that message. In today’s gospel Jesus is coming to the end of his sermon on the mount. What’s he is saying to us today is, “well you’ve heard what I’ve said, what I’ve taught. What are you going to do about it? Calling me Lord, Lord is not enough. Lip service I don’t need.”
Remember the musical ‘My Fair Lady’? There is a great song the Elisa Doolittle sings to Henry Higgins, “words, words, words, I’m so sick of words, don’t speak of love; show me – show me now.” Jesus is saying to us, ‘don’t speak of love, don’t speak of justice, don’t speak of forgiveness, don’t speak of peace, show me, show me now.’
In theology they speak of orthodoxy and orthopraxis, we may accept all the teaching of Jesus and of the church intellectually but do we live them out in our relationships with other people? Our orthodoxy teaches that God created the world and all it contains and our orthopraxis demands that we live lightly on the earth, wonder at the beauty of creation and work toward a healing of the earth. Orthopraxis would have us take the time to read and reflect on the inserts we find in the parish bulletin and make a commitment to attend our parish retreat. Are we into orthopraxis, do we live what we believe? It is only when we let the teachings of Jesus and the example of his life take hold in the daily living of our lives that we will find our faith standing firm before the winds and torrents of life.
The bedrock of our life is doing God’s will as revealed to us through Jesus’ words and deeds. Jesus is the rock upon which we build our lives, and it is our encounters with him in all those who come into our lives that we are called to do as he did. We should never get used to or bored hearing our weekly petition, ‘may we live this Mass outside these walls in the lives we live, the work we do, the service we give and the prayers we pray.’
In this Mass we celebrate and we remember Jesus giving his life for each of us because he loves every one of us and he calls each of us to love others and he loved us. As we continue to celebrate this Mass we pray for ourselves and for each that we have the strength not only to hear the word of God but to live it every day of our lives.