If I Believe in Water but Will Not Drink . . .

First Reading: Isaiah 26:1-6

On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:

“A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you.”

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1 AND 8-9, 19-21, 25-27

R.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD’s;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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.”


dec 3

I remember being on a retreat in high school. Listening to a powerful talk on the passion of Our Lord. Hearing how the scourge had ripped into his flesh. How the nails had pierced his wrists. How Jesus—the real, no kidding Son. of. God.—had suffered unimaginably and died in disgrace . . . for ME, because he loved me more than I could ever understand. When the chance came to stand up and say I believed, I didn’t hesitate. I believed. I did. And I said so. Right there in front of a room full of teenagers.

But that was just about as far as it went. I went around for a week or two with a heart on fire for Jesus, but with nothing to feed the flames . . . they soon went out. I was buffeted, and soon collapsed. For many years, I would have told you I was “Catholic” but you couldn’t have seen it in my life. It wasn’t until ten years later, when my “Lord, Lord” was finally accompanied by prayer and study and formation and action and the sacraments that it meant anything at all.

Don’t get me wrong, to proclaim oneself a Christian is no small thing.

Throughout history, from the distant past to the painfully recent present, to claim Christianity has been a bold (and dangerous) thing to do. It could get one fed to lions, or deposed as queen, or teased at school.

There is power in faith, in words, in calling upon the Lord. But it is not enough.

I may believe, with all my being, that water is good and important and necessary for my survival, but if my belief in the efficacy of water does not translate into action, what good is it? If I believe in water but will not drink . . . I will die.

If I love God, it requires more than just saying so. It requires radical changes in my life. I cannot read the word of God, and nod in agreement, but just keep right on living my life the way I always have. I cannot believe in the Catholic Church but ignore her teachings.

A faith built on nothing but feelings is weak, and will soon collapse. But a faith fed with study and prayer and the sacraments, and strengthened with obedience and good works will weather the storm.

How are you feeding your faith? How are you moving beyond feelings to a lasting sense of integrating your faith into your life?

photo by Edenn Yorks

Kendra Tierney lives in Los Angeles, CA where her interests include blogging, homeschooling, looking after her eight children, and fixing up a hundred year old tumbledown mansion. You can find out more about her here.

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