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Father Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Gospel/Homily

  • Liturgical day: Thursday 1st of Advent

    Gospel text (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 the one who does the will of my heavenly Father.

    »So, then, anyone who hears these words of mine and acts accordingly is like a wise man, who built his house on rock. The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house, but it did not collapse because it was built on rock. But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not act accordingly, is like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house; it collapsed, and what a terrible fall that was!».

    «Not everyone who says to me: Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven»

    Fr. Jean-Charles TISSOT
    (Freiburg, Switzerland)

    Today, the Lord pronounced these words at the end of His "Sermon on the Mount" where He bestows a new and deeper meaning to the Commandments of the Old Testament, the "words" of God to men. He talks as the Son of God, and as such, He demands us “to receive what I say to you”, as very significant words: words of eternal life which must be put into practice, and not only to be heard - with the risk of forgetting them or just be satisfied admiring them or admiring their author - but without any personal involvement.

    «To build a house on sand» (cf. Mt 7:26) is an image to describe a foolish behavior that leads us nowhere and ends up in a failure in life, after a long and painful effort to build up something. “Bene curris, sed extra viam", said St. Augustine, which we could translate as: “you run well, but you are out of the approved path”. What a shame reaching just there: the time of trial, of the storms and floods that inevitably fill up our life!

    The Lord wants to teach us how to set up a solid groundwork, the base of which originates in our effort to act according to His teachings, living by them every day in the midst of small problems He will try to direct. Thus, our daily resolutions to live by Christ’s teachings must end up in tangible results, which despite not being definitive, can still allow us to achieve out of them joy and gratitude at night, at the time of examining our conscience. The joy of having achieved a small victory over ourselves is a preparation for other battles, and the strength will not fail us - with the grace of God — to persevere until the end.

    «Not everyone who says to me: Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my heavenly Father»

    + Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret
    (Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

    Today y, the Gospel invites us to meditate very seriously on the infinite distance that there is between the mere “listen-invoke” and the “do” when it comes to the message and the person of Jesus. And we say “mere” because we cannot forget that there are ways of listening and invoking that do not lead to the “doing”. Indeed, all those who, having listened to the Gospel, believe, will not remain confused; and all those who, believing, invoke the name of the Lord, will be saved: Paul preaches in his letter to the Romans (see: 10:9-13). He is referring to those who believe with authentic faith, that which «works through charity».

    It is a fact, however, that many believe and do not “do”. Saint James' letter exposes it in an impressive way: «Be doers of the Word and not just hearers, lest you deceive yourselves» (1:22); «Faith without deeds: it is totally dead» (2:17); «So, just as the body is dead without its spirit, so faith without deeds is also dead» (2:26). Saint Matthew rejects such a way of going about one's faith, in an unforgettable way, when he says: «Not everyone who says to me: Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my heavenly Father» (7:21).

    It is therefore necessary to listen and to do; in this way we build on rock and not on sand. How do I put what I listen to into action? Let's ask ourselves a few questions: —Do God and my fellow man really get my consideration? —Am I a convinced believer?; As to money —Do I share my goods out of solidarity with others?; As to culture —Do I contribute to the invigoration of human values in my country?; As to the growth of good —Do I run away from the sin of omission?; As to apostolate —Do I look for the eternal salvation of those around me? In a word: —Am I a sensible person who, with works, builds the house of my life on Christ's rock?