Listening & Acting On God's Word
Matthew 7:21, 24–27
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us an important life lesson: nothing happens unless we act. It isn’t enough merely to listen to Jesus. Listening is important, but it’s only the first step. As Scripture says, God’s word is living and active. It prods us into action. It is easier to talk about something than it is to roll up our sleeves and get to work. As long as seeds stay in their packet, they’ll never grow. But plant them and water them, and soon a beautiful garden will grow. Our lives will bear fruit to the extent that we turn our words into deeds.
In baptism, we became members of Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit. We have two choices about what we can do with that divine life given so abundantly. One choice is to let it lie dormant. If we choose that path, we’ll remain perpetual infants in the spiritual life. We’ll be like those seeds that just stay in the packet and never grow into anything. At the end of our life, we’ll say, “Lord, Lord.” But God will ask us what we did with the gift he gave us.
There is another choice: to listen to Jesus and then to act on his words. You don’t have to do big things, showy things, things that attract attention. Instead, practice love of God and love of neighbor. Pray every day. Follow the commandments. Do some small act of kindness. Participate in the Sunday Eucharist each week. If you wish to turn your life around spiritually, start with something small. Take some desire that you’ve had about growing spiritually and make it a goal. For example, have you always wanted to read the Bible but been daunted at its sheer size? Of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, seventeen of them have six chapters or fewer. Try reading those first. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop.
Lord Jesus, help me to listen to the words you speak to me and to act on them. I want to put my life in your hands, and I trust in your plan for me. In the Gospel, you tell me that if I listen to your words and put them into practice, I will be like those wise persons who build their lives on rock. When the winds of life threaten to blow me down, I will not fear because you are my rock.
“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.”
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 18–19). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.