First Week of Advent
Gospel: Mt 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.”
ACTION AND CONTEMPLATION: Father Richard Rohr founded the center for Action and Contemplation in 1986 in New Mexico. He believes that Action and Contemplation, which seem exclusive to each other, needs to be brought together. Jesus says that only those who listen to his words and live by them have sound life. In the Bible, God is considered to be Rock (PS 18.3). Only those who contemplate the Word of God and live by it can have foundation on the Rock. The people who listened to the Sermon on the Mount acclaimed that Jesus was preaching with authority from God. The Pharisees did not have such authority. Let us examine our conscience: Are we speakers or livers of the word of God? We should feel authority of God when we instruct others.
PRAYER: Jesus! You are my rock. Help me to build my life on you.
FINDING GOD IN THE TUMULT OF LIFE: One cannot aspire for a place in the kingdom of Heaven on the strength of mere good wishes alone! Good wishes and positive intentions must be backed by firm action. In the final count all that matters is, whether you give heed to God’s words and order your life accordingly: meaning one cannot compartmentalize one’s life into the spiritual realm and the ‘actual’. In a class of teenage students, a teacher finds twenty of her students talking simultaneously. One has a complaint, another seeks a clarification, yet another is looking for personal attention. They looked like baby squirrels looking for food. It’s a cacophony to her ears. They want to interact, want to express themselves. If she goes into a fit of rage she sure will break hearts and demolish relations. She is composed like a Zen-master and has a smile on her lips. It calls for some smart moves. A self-obsessed generation is deeply shrunk into his cocoon. He lives and believes in a make-believe world. Let’s not be blinded by the seeming progress and sophistication we have achieved in our lives. But remember, that it is when you pay heed to the word of God and act on it, you are genuinely ‘wise’.
THE ROCK: The contemporary world pushes us around – with our frequent travels, the noisy phone calls, numerous appointments and engagements, shopping, house-keeping, taking care of children and spouses, wanting to be efficient in every-front, making money and being successful. The world out there is competitive, and I need to perform. Fair enough. In fact, the glory of God is the human person fully alive, as St Irenaeus tells us. But do we have a base? A foundation? A rock? If the rock is not there, then we run the risk of being sucked up by the contemporary world. We feel drained, fatigued and stressed! Then we are not fully alive and demonstrating the glory of God. So, what could be the rock? Jesus tells us: it is our attitude of contemplation of the Word. This is the rock. We need to listen to his word, ponder it in our hearts, and act on it. This will give us the base.