27 June 2013

The storm's debris

St. Cyril of Alexandria 
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP 
St. Dominic, NOLA 

We pick up where we left off yesterday with Jesus telling the disciples that only those who do the will of the Father can be called his. He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven. . .” Those who cry out his name but fail to do the Father's will are false prophets, “ravenous wolves” posing as sheep. And even if these wolves do good deeds—prophesy, cast out demons, end world hunger—all in Christ's name, he will say on the last day, “Depart from me, you evildoers. I never knew you.” He never knew them. Why? Because they never knew him. Not for who he is, anyway; not as one who came among us to bring the Good New. Not as the Word made flesh to die for our sins. They might've known him as a Do-Gooder, or an Inspirational Teacher, or a Traveling Wizard. But they didn't know him as the Christ, the Son of God. If we will be like the wise man who builds his house on rock, we will listen to his words and act on them; otherwise, we will be like the fool who builds on sand. We will collapse and be utterly ruined. On what, on whom is your life built? 

Since we started with a little Apocalyptic doom and gloom, let's temper it a bit with the Philosophic; that is, without turning a deaf ear to Jesus' clear warnings, let's spend a bit of time wondering about the purpose of a foundation, more specifically, the proper foundation for a life lived in Christ. In the Builders' metaphor that Jesus uses, we have two foundations: one of rock, one of sand. The rock foundation provides stability and durability for anything built on it. The sand foundation provides neither, only a temporary, constantly shifting surface that cannot be trusted for strength or endurance. The whole purpose of a foundation is to give a structure an ordered footprint, a firm grounding so that the building has a good chance of withstanding whatever comes against it. If your life is the structure, who or what is your foundation? If you've built your life on the shifting sands of this world's goods; or, on the promises of this world's rulers, then your life probably cannot withstand what this world chooses to bring against you. Why should the goods and powers of the world support you when the world itself attacks? Christ is the only sure foundation for a life built to endure this world and beyond, beyond the vicious whims of the Enemy and his deep longing to see us fall. 

Christ's rock-solid foundation extends strata-deep to heaven-high and stamps more than just a churchy footprint. To build a life on the Rock of Christ means bringing into your spiritual house both your public and your private life; your history and your secrets; your politics, your science, your entertainment; both your wealth and your poverty; every minute of every day not just those minutes spent in Church. In other words, if we will build our lives on the Rock of Christ, we cannot build another house on the sand, a “shack-up” flat for rendezvouses with the world. We cannot commit spiritual adultery with the Enemy and expect Christ to sit quietly at home, meekly waiting for our return. We cannot prostitute ourselves for acclaim or influence or comfort and expect our Lord not to notice. So, we can do the will of the Father; or, we can be the slaves of sin and wash away with the storm's debris. If we want Christ to know us at the end, then we must spend time and energy getting to know him now. And we cannot do that if we're busy juggling the world's promises on a sand bar. Listen to his word. Act on his word. And your faithfulness—at the end—will not be in doubt. 
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1 comment:

  1. Really liked this one. Second paragraph was terrific - having spent many years on the "shifting sands" I can attest to the lack of support found there. Final paragraph, right at the first sentence brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the clear explanation of what building a life on the Rock of Christ means, and how there really is no "half-way".

    As always, Thank you!!