December 1, 2022
by Suzanne Braddock
Creighton University's Medical School - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 178

Isaiah 26:1-6
Psalm 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a
Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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“Whoever does the will of my Father will enter the kingdom of heaven”

I found much to ponder in the readings for today. The overall tone of preparing for the Lord manifests in how we live, how we build our houses (our selves).

Building takes time: the idea first, then the detailed planning, the careful selection of people to do the actual work and of utmost importance: location, location, location.

The United States has recently seen a number of houses washed into storm-tossed seas and flooded rivers – a great hardship for the owners. One wishes they had been able to live on higher ground. These tragic events always bring to mind the reading from Matthew: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. (“Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock.” Is: 26:1-6) And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand…”…You know the rest.

So we can’t just listen – we have to act. We are to do the Father’s will…..”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.”

Our commission to do the Father’s will seems difficult – how do we know what that is and how do we go about finding out?

For me, I like to boil things down to their least complex form, the simplest. In this matter of doing the Father’s will I turn in trust to Jesus, the very enfleshment of the Father’s will. His word builds the firm foundation of our lives.

Hopefully our actions flow from a frequent reading and pondering of his word, such that even without thinking, we express his love and mercy in all we do and say. I’m still working on it. Compassion is never wrong, even for ourselves.

And now, for me, the really good news in these readings: As we do the will of the Father we are already in heaven.  In my thinking, heaven can begin here and now, as we manifest the goodness of the Lord.

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