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Foundation in Christ

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, 25-27A

R. (26a) 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.”

NAB

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Years ago, when I was active in youth ministry, there was a skit that we did for the youth attending retreats. It involved two “builders” and a narrator. One builder was the wise man, and the other was the fool. It was silly and exaggerated, but the words of today’s Gospel will forever be ingrained in my mind.

It seems so obvious.

Be like the wise man!

Build your house upon solid rock!

But, man, I’ve made some really stupid decisions in my life. My house might look like the wise man’s house, but my foundation has been that of the fool. I’ve relied so often on my own desires and understanding; I’ve not been able to withstand storms because of it.

As I grew in my faith, I started to realize that I needed to be humble and accept that I can’t do it alone. I need to stand on solid ground, and that ground needs to be Christ.

A friend pointed out that maybe instead of praying for all my wants, I should start asking that my desire would be for God’s will. At first I didn’t get the difference, but the more I thought about it, I realized how radically different that perspective was. It was such a shift for me in my prayer, and a challenging one because it required a different kind of obedience on my part. Even though I often failed at meeting them, I did not find it hard to accept the commandments of God, the guidelines set forth by the Church, or even those boundaries set forth by my own vocation in life. But God wanted a deeper intimacy with me; one where my will was more closely aligned to His. So when big changes in life approached, and I wasn’t completely sure which way to walk I would pray, “God, help me want what you want for me.” Sometimes His will was easy to accept, and other times it wasn’t so easy, but that simple prayer had softened my heart to whatever He might have in store for me.

God is calling us deeper into His will. So when those storms come, and the floods rush over us, and the winds howl and shake us, we will not collapse in total ruin. We might need some patching up as weak points are brought to light by a storm, but our foundation will be firm and steadfast, so long as we stand upon Christ.

Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.

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