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Rock Solid Foundation
Saturday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I come before you as I do every morning, with an open heart, ready to listen to the message you have for me. I want to build my life on the firm foundation of your word and I begin each day by spending this time with you.
- Good Fruit: Outside my office window, a beautiful magnolia tree towers over the sidewalk. Each morning in June and July I walk by and pluck a fresh bloom from a low-hanging branch to bring indoors. The fragrance of that single bloom permeates my whole workspace. That magnolia is like the tree Our Lord refers to in today’s Gospel. By simply doing what it was created to do, the magnolia bears pure white, sweet-smelling perfection. Our Lord asks us to do the same. By our own power, we’re helpless, but when we depend on Jesus and do the works he has planned for us to do from all eternity, the fruit we bear is no less than divine perfection. Like the magnolia, we give glory to God.
- No Foundation: In the Lord’s parable, a river runs through a house, shaking it off of its foundation. Without a foundation, we are susceptible to every kind of “river” that runs through our lives. Facing illness, cultural unrest, political turmoil, or relationships gone sour we drown in deep irretrievable anxiety and depression. When suffering comes, we exacerbate it by cling to solutions from the world: drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, etc. Our “foundation” shakes as we add up our Instagram “likes,” dive into workout regimes, and pay for cosmetic surgery in our pursuit of the fountain of youth. We spend our spiritual and emotional energy on resources that cannot shore up our foundation. When we ignore the plans of the grand architect by refusing to do what he commands, our lives end up in shambles.
- Solid Foundation: Conversely, Our Lord promises we will survive life’s “rivers” (and even thrive) if we do three things: come to him, listen to his words, and act on them. Lines of scripture are God’s gift to us and address every human emotion. Through these words, Our Lord offers us “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). If we want to love Jesus, we need to know what the Bible teaches so well that it’s practically written on our foreheads: “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for showing me how to build up my foundation by meditating on your holy word. I want to share with others the strength and peace I find here. So many friends and family suffer from shaky foundations. If only they knew you as I do. Help me, Lord, to be a good witness of your love and to continue to depend only on you for the good fruits you call me to bear.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully assess the day ahead, looking for an opportunity to speak your name to a friend or co-worker.
For Further Reflection: Check out the Walking with Purpose “I Declares” for a list of scripture verses by them that can be applied to everyday situations.
Written by Maribeth Harper.