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."
There is a very straight-forward message entwined in these verses: Listen to Jesus’ words, act accordingly, and your life is going to be rock-solid. This is a clear instruction, practical and precise. Let us take a closer look.
Matthew locates this message right after the Sermon of the Mount of chapters 5, 6 and 7. This Sermon, introduced with the Beatitudes in 5:1-12, constitutes the programmatic guidelines for the lifestyle which Jesus proposes. These three chapters can be a constant point of reference for every Christian to review how Christian his or her life really is. They sketch the attitudes, the commandments, the dispositions, and priorities which Jesus deems to be crucial. Matthew has built these teachings into the genre of a sermon, a carefully constructed castle of life, with ideals as high as steeples, principles as strong as a foundation, instructions as clear as vitrines, and attitudes as noble as heavy wooden furniture. When we let these words resound in our time - in the liturgy, in a bible study, in our personal reading - Jesus’ words build up in front of us; the ideals He describes tower above us; the attitudes He evokes stir up our heart; His commands claim their place in our conscience. His words are there. They stand here. For you. Today.
Listen and Act
We immediately understand the relevance of Jesus’ remark regarding authentic listening. So His words tower in front of us like a castle. And now? The presence of His words in our lives is not enough. He places His wisdom in front of us but it depends on us whether or not we open the doors of our lives and let that wisdom shape us. How do we open that door? By acting. By doing what He says. By transforming the cloud-castle of His words, which - by transcending time and space - reach us through the Gospel, into actual, vivid, and solid realities. Take these words and make them live!
A Solid Life
Every person’s life is, ultimately, an ongoing construction. Day after day, we add arches, coves, doors, or windows to that house. We build it, we live in it, and we host others in it. Jesus promises that His structural design is the blueprint for a solid life. That means, if we listen to His words and act accordingly, we will thrive. Our life will become a breathtaking castle, solid enough to endure all kinds of weather, and big and welcoming so as to welcome people comfortably inside. Jesus is offering you a castle here. Read His Sermon. Listen to His words. Take up the offer.