So many parts of the Old Testament are downright soap opera-esque. This is certainly the case with today’s first reading from Genesis 16. At the request of his wife, Sarai, Abram bears a child with her maid, Hagar. As one might imagine, this doesn’t end well.
In the Gospel reading today from Matthew 7, Jesus says, “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.” He goes on to say, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Today we think about the differences between hearing, talking and acting.
This is always a reminder to me of the great responsibility we bear as Christians. Going to church is a very good thing. When we’re at church, we listen to the words of Jesus in the Gospel. We pray as a community. (“Say, ‘Lord, Lord.”) That’s great. But is it enough? Jesus says no. If we think that going to Mass now and again, or even every Sunday and every Holy Day, or even every day is enough, we are sorely mistaken. Because just hearing what Jesus says and saying, “Lord, Lord,” is inadequate. We must put these things into practice in our everyday lives. We must ACT on them. Not just occasionally, not just when it is convenient, not just an hour a week or even an hour a day. Always. Jesus lets us know that lip service just won’t cut it.
Father, help us to live out our faith every moment of every day. May we hear and act on Jesus’ words always. Amen.