March 6, 2011
Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 7: 21-27
The message from today's gospel is painfully plain. There are no
fine distinctions or careful qualification. When it comes to the
evaluation of our behavior in this life, mere words, like "Lord, Lord,"
will not count for very much. Even in a non-religious context, we are
accustomed to say, "Words or cheap."
What will finally be revealed as the one thing important in life
will be, according too Jesus, "the will of my Father." Unfortunately,
there will be no lack of those who will recite the list of their
supposed accomplishments. They will claim to have prophesied, or cast
out demons, or even to have performs mighty deeds...but all of these
"good works" will have been by their own definition and under their own
There will be a terrible judgment on these self-chosen deeds.
The words that we hope never to hear are the words of Jesus: "I never
knew you." Surely there is nothing more urgent in our lives than to
discover how to forestall such a frightening divine judgment.
The story of a house built on sand which cannot withstand the
storm aptly illustrates the sad situation of a person who never really
accepts and lives in accordance with the wisdom of God as revealed in
This divine wisdom, so powerfully revealed in the life of Jesus,
is found everywhere in the gospel, but one of the most dramatic
revelations of this occurs at the Last Supper. We must remember that
this is the last opportunity that Jesus will have to speak with his
disciples. It should not surprise us then to hear him summarize all his
teaching in one dramatic and challenging statement. Taking the bread in
his hands, he says to his disciples something that they never heard him
say before: "Take and eat; this is my body," and then, taking the cup,
"Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant"
Jesus tells us, his present-day disciples, that we must imitate
him as he gives his body and blood-his very life-for the sake of others.
This is the wisdom that will allow us to build a house that can resist
all possible storms. We need to open our hearts to the love of God so
that we may be free enough to choose to love others...and then we must
do so, as much as we can and as much as they need. If we can dedicate
ourselves to this apparently foolish, but really supremely wise way of
living, we will surely hear God say to us, "I have always known you.
Demetrius R. Dumm, OSB