Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Isaiah 26:1-6 + Matthew 7:21,24-27
December 1, 2016
“For the Lord is an eternal Rock.”
Likely you’ve had a conversation with a fellow Christian who insists that the entire Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—must be interpreted literally. The next time that occurs, offer your fellow Christian this sentence from today’s First Reading—“For the Lord is an eternal Rock.”—and ask if the Lord is literally a rock. The absurdity of the question shows that a single Scripture verse may have multiple meanings: including, but also transcending, the literal meaning.
Most of us would say pretty readily that describing the Lord as “an eternal Rock” is a metaphor that should not be taken literally. This metaphor tells us how solid, sturdy and dependable God always is. That’s a pretty simple and straightforward idea. Jesus in today’s Gospel uses the same metaphor in a little different way. In the way that Jesus tweaks this metaphor, He gives us a good Advent reflection.
Jesus begins by flatly telling us that “only the one who does the will of my Father” “will enter the Kingdom of heaven”. Then Jesus presents a comparison in order to describe doing the will of God the Father. Jesus wants this to be a description of your life. Here’s Jesus’ comparison:
“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 Jesus’ comparison here, what does the image of the “rock” stand for? Jesus Himself answered that question that “the one who does the will of my Father” “will enter… heaven”. It’s “the will of [God the] Father” that is the “rock” on which the wise man builds. God’s holy Will, in other words, is rock-solid. So we might reflect today on Jesus’ words as an encouragement to ourselves to be more like God: that is, to be dependable in our decisions, and unwavering in the midst of influences that tempt us to take the broad and easy path. We might furthermore reflect on the need to pray for insight into God’s holy Will before we make decisions, so that our human will is of one accord with God’s holy Will.
But then, thirdly, you might reflect on God’s holy Will in the light of the Messiah for whom we’re waiting. Remember what the Holy Name of “Jesus” literally means: it means “God saves”. This is the Son whom God the Father wills unto sinful man. The Messiah whose coming we await will not be a general seeking conquests. He will not be a performer seeking applause. He will be a Savior seeking lost souls.
God’s holy Will will not waver in seeking lost souls, even if you yourself buffet Him with all your sins. God’s holy Will is “an eternal Rock”. God wills to save you. Even were you to join the soldiers on Good Friday and buffet Jesus’ holy Face, His Will would not waver. All you need to do is to align your will to the Father’s holy Will. Abandon your sins, and embrace the Father’s holy Will. Accept in faith the salvation that Jesus is coming to give you.