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DEC. 3. ADVENT WK 1. THU. MATT. 7. 21-27

Updated: 4 days ago

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!


There is an important message in this reading that Christians need to hear; - namely “wanting to be the friend of God” is not enough, and He is looking for much more from each of us.


Many sinners want to be God’s friends also, so there must be another component that needs to be added to this very understandable desire, and in the above reading Christ spells this out, namely: “the person who does the will of my Father in heaven”.


It is easy to ‘desire’ to be the friend of God and we often forget Christ taught that, in order to attain this goal, self-denial and self-sacrifice are essential; - a truth borne out by Christ himself, by Mary his Mother, and by all the Saints!


How easy it is to ‘overlook’ or ‘forget’ this truth that was clearly spelt out by Christ in both his life and the Gospels; - the need to put the Will of God before our own will?


Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock”. It is so easy to “hear Christ’s words”; - but it is difficult to “live them” each day; - something we quickly understand on trying to be a follower of Christ?


Rains will come, floods will rise, and gales will blow against us on our earthly pilgrimage, so our life must be founded on rock; - the rock of Faith. As the builder of our own house, we are responsible for its foundation; - and we are being warned here to ensure the foundation is rock, rather than sand!


So how do we ensure our house is built on rock, rather than sand?


The answer is found in the extent to which we; - turn to God in Humble Prayer; - strive to truly imitate Christ through the practice of the virtues, (particularly Meekness, Humility, Charity, and Self-denial) and with the assistance of Prayer, Sacrament and Devotion to Mary our Mother!


Gospel Acclamation Is55:6


Alleluia, alleluia!

Seek the Lord while he can be found.

Call on him while he is near.

Alleluia!


First reading Isaiah 26:1-6

Open the gates; let the upright nation come in


That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city;

to guard us he has set

wall and rampart about us.

Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in,

she, the faithful one

whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace,

because she trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord for ever,

for the Lord is the everlasting Rock;

he has brought low those who lived high up

in the steep citadel;

he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,

flings it down in the dust:

the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor

trample on it.


Responsorial Psalm Psalm 117(118):1,8-9,19-21,25-27


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.


Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,

for his love has no end.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord

than to trust in men;

it is better to take refuge in the Lord

than to trust in princes.


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.


Open to me the gates of holiness:

I will enter and give thanks.

This is the Lord’s own gate

where the just may enter.

I will thank you for you have answered

and you are my saviour.


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

O Lord, grant us salvation;

O Lord, grant success.

Blessed in the name of the Lord

is he who comes.

We bless you from the house of the Lord;

the Lord God is our light.


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.


THE LESSONS FROM TODAY....


A central theme today is to be found in the response to the Psalm; - "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"; - in that we are being told of the treasure which God has given us in his only Son; - "The Way, the Truth, and the Life!". O that we could understand and appreciate who and what is coming into the world shortly; - via an unknown virgin in a stable!


He came to give us the Church; - his Mystical Body; - he came to give us his teachings via Church and Gospels; - he came to give us Our Father, the one from whom everything comes; - he came to give us the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession; - he came to give us His Mother, to be our Mother; - he came to give us the gift of Prayer; - and he came to give us an invitation to be his intimate friend; - by seeking Holiness.


But, sadly, we do not acknowledge the Love of God for each of us that these universal gifts bear witness to! Instead, we take them for granted and treat them as something we are entitled to; - but we are not; - they are Divine gifts originating from Divine Love!


In order to appreciate these gifts we need to reflect frequently on where we would be, as sinners, were our God not to have provided us with such divine blessings?


The Prophet Isaiah, in the first reading, via "the song of the redeemed" makes it clear he understood what God has done for his people. In this song he highlights what God has done for us in giving us the Church (The City of Jerusalem); - a city with solid walls and gates that protect us from enemies; - but which welcomes and cares for the Faithful.


But over the centuries, since Old Testament, the Faithful have become proud and complacent; - failing to appreciate what we have been given in Jerusalem, The City of God, or the Mystical Body; - which is why each year the Church takes us back to the stable, and the virgin, and the Son of God; - to have us ponder anew the enormity of what God has done for us; - and what he has given us!


PRAYER


Stir up your power, O Lord,

and come to our help with mighty strength,

that what our sins impede

the grace of your mercy may hasten.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.






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