When we pick up our Bible and begin to read, we are faced with a challenge from God. The challenges are sometimes simple statements, but if we are genuine in our love for God, they are most often a conviction that we are not living quite like we should. He commands us to love, but we know we could always love more. He commands that we should not judge others, and we find ourselves standing in judgment just about every day. He commands us to feed, visit, clothe, offer a drink, house, cure, teach, baptize, etc. We may ask ourselves, is every word meant for me?
In today’s Gospel lesson (you can read the entire passage below) Christ finishes His teaching with, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand….and great was the fall of it. If we are destined to fall when we don’ do the word of God, it would be nice if we knew exactly what He meant.
We wouldn’t be the first to ask for more specifics. Unfortunately Christ rarely offers us specifics, choosing instead to call us to a high standard. He then turns and heals the sick, forgives those who have fallen short, and strengthens the weak. It is dangerous to isolate any one verse or chapter of the Holy Scriptures and expect to know the fullness of the Word of God. We must look at the Holy Scriptures in their entirety, as expressed and interpreted by the Church in her Holy Tradition to fully understand the Word of God, as the Eunuch said to St Philip when he asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8.30-31)
Doing the Word of God boils down to living as if we are truly united to Christ in our Baptism and Chrismation and strengthened in Holy Communion. When we interact with others, who are loved by God, do we love them as God would love them? Sometimes that loves comes in the form of food and clothing, and sometimes that love comes in the form of education and mentoring. Are you living each day as if you are truly united to God in Holy Communion? Then you’re building your house on a solid foundation. When the storm comes, and it will, you will be ready for it.
The Lord said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them." – Matthew 7.24-8.4