The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What’s the best security against disaster and destruction? In the ancient world a strong city, an impregnable fortress, and a secure house were built on solid rock because they could withstand the forces of nature and foe alike. Isaiah speaks of God as an “everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4). He is the rock of refuge and deliverance (Psalm 18:2) and the rock in whom there is no wrong (Psalm 92:15). Scripture warns that destruction will surely come to those who place their security in something other than God and his kingdom. Jesus’ parables invite us to stake our lives on the coming of his kingdom or face the consequences of being unprepared when the day of testing and destruction will surely come.
When Jesus told the story of the builders he likely had the following proverb in mind: “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever”(Proverbs 10:25). What’s the significance of the story for us? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster! Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees the heart as it truly is – with its motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2).
There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you? Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself. His or her word can be counted on. If you heed God’s word and live according to it then you need not fear when storms assail you. God will be your rock and your refuge. Is your life built upon the sure “rock” of Jesus Christ and do you listen to his word as if your life depended on it?
“Lord Jesus, you are my Rock and my Refuge. Help me to conform my life according to your word that I may stand firm in times of trouble and find hope in your promises.”
“A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in You.” —Isaiah 26:3
The twelve tribes of Israel entered the Promised Land after forty years of wandering in the desert. The tribes remained united until after the death of Solomon, when the tribe of Judah remained true to the Israelite covenant and the other tribes “seceded” from the Israelite covenant, set up idolatrous worship, and formed the Northern Kingdom, also known as “Israel” or “Samaria.” The seceded tribes fell further into sin and idolatry, despite continued warnings from prophet after prophet (see 2 Kgs 17:13). Finally, their rebellion led them so far from God’s protection that the sinful Northern Kingdom was conquered, never to exist again.
A nation that was united fell into disunity because of sin, hardheartedness, and blocking the true God out of their daily life. Could many nations today be following a similar path? God is banned from schools and many workplaces. There are serious divisions. God has sent many prophets to these nations, but there remains great rebellion against His prophets.
“A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in You” (Is 26:3). In the U.S.A., the currency proclaims “In God we trust.” Do its people share the same trust? Will the people of the United States and other nations repent and trust in God? Will they unite to be “indivisible, under God,” or will these nations follow the path of the twelve tribes of Israel to disintegration and defeat? Repent now!
Prayer: Father, may we not neglect the lessons You teach us in Scripture. Grant us hearts that are humble, contrite, and faithful. Promise: “Anyone who hears My words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock.” —Mt 7:24 Praise: St. Francis Xavier, in the course of ten years, evangelized much of the Far East making an extraordinary number of converts. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements