First Reading: From the Book of Second Kings 24:8-17
Vrs8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
Vrs9 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his father had done.
Vrs10 At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
Vrs11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on the city and his generals laid siege to it.
Vrs12 Jehoiachin king of Judah-he, his mother, his retinue, his nobles and his officials — then surrendered to the king of Babylon, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner in the eighth year of his reign.
Vrs13 The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of Yahweh and the treasures of the palace and broke up all the golden furnishings which Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of Yahweh, as Yahweh had foretold.
Vrs14 He carried all Jerusalem off into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind.
Vrs15 He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his officials and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon.
Vrs16 All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all the men capable of bearing arms, were led off into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.
Vrs17 The king of Babylon deposed Jehoiachin in favour of his paternal uncle Mattaniah, whose name he changed to Zedekiah.
Responsorial Psalm: From Psalms 79:1-2, 3-5, 8, 9
Vrs1 [Psalm Of Asaph] God, the pagans have invaded your heritage, they have defiled your holy temple, they have laid Jerusalem in ruins,
Vrs2 they have left the corpses of your servants as food for the birds of the air, the bodies of your faithful for the wild beasts.
Vrs3 Around Jerusalem they have shed blood like water, leaving no one to bury them.
Vrs4 We are the scorn of our neighbours, the butt and laughing-stock of those around us.
Vrs5 How long will you be angry, Yahweh? For ever? Is your jealousy to go on smouldering like a fire?
Vrs8 Do not count against us the guilt of former generations, in your tenderness come quickly to meet us, for we are utterly weakened;
Vrs9 help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name; Yahweh, wipe away our sins, rescue us for the sake of your name.
Gospel Reading: From the Gospel Account of Saint Matthew 7:21-29
Vrs21 ‘It is not anyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the personwho does the will of my Father in heaven.
Vrs22 When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?”
Vrs23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!
Vrs24 ‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible manwho built his house on rock.
Vrs25 Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.
Vrs26 But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid manwho built his house on sand.
Vrs27 Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Vrs28 Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people
Vrs29 because he taught them with authority, unlike their own scribes.
Theme: The wise who built their house upon the rock
If you could foresee a threat to your life and the lose of your home and goods, wouldn’t you take the necessary precautions to avoid such a disaster? Jesus’ story of being swept away by flood waters and wind storms must have caught the attention of his audience who knew that terrific storms did occasionally sweep through their dry arid land without any warning signs. When Jesus described the builders who were unprepared for such a life-threatening storm, 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).
The only foundation that can keep us safe
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 and trials of life 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 one another with our words, 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 must choose between what is true and false, good and evil. 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 pain or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, neighbor, and oneself. Such a person’s word can be taken as trustworthy.
Christ is the only rock that can save us
What can keep us from falsehood and spiritual disaster? If we make the Lord Jesus and his word the rock and foundation of our lives, then nothing can shake us nor keep us from God’s presence and protection. Is the Lord Jesus and his word the one sure foundation of your life?
“Lord Jesus, you are the only foundation that can hold us up when trials and disaster threaten us. Give me the wisdom, foresight, and strength of character I need to do what is right and good and to reject whatever is false and contrary to your will. May I be a doer of your word and not a hearer only.”