At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Today the Lord makes it clear to us what He wants from us. It is not enough to call on His name; it is not enough to work miracles in His name! There may be many people who call on the name of Jesus and have an emotional relationship with the Lord, but they do not follow His commands. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”, Jesus tells us (Jn 14:15). Faith and works; confessing Jesus as Lord and acting on that faith; these two things go hand in hand. Without the decision to keep God’s commandments, the life of grace He offers us cannot grow and bear fruit in us, and we will lose our way.
We must also beware of falling into the opposite extreme, believing that only works count and that it is not important to confess faith in God. This would be a mistake with serious consequences, for our works are meant to glorify God and make His name known.
As we listen to these words of warning from Jesus, we realise what a great task we have been given: to accept His Word as deeply as possible, so that our wills may be fully submitted to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this regard, we must be aware of the weakness of our will, which is one of the consequences of original sin. To this end, an ascetical formation is necessary, so that our will can better cooperate with God’s grace and not constantly fall into its own weakness.
St Paul perceived in his members a law that fought against the law of his spirit, and he then exclaimed that only the Lord would be able to free him from this internal division (cf. Rom 7:23-25).
In order to fight against the weakness of our will, which tends to give in to its evil inclinations, the teaching of the so-called “two freedoms” can be helpful. It turns out that it is not always a bad intention when we do not do what we intend to do. In today’s Gospel, the Lord is certainly referring more to those who do not want to accept His commandments.
The teaching on the “two freedoms” refers to the following: With our “first freedom” we make the right choices; for example, we set out to avoid certain sites on the Internet because we know that they endanger our morals. Knowing this, we decide to block these sites so as not to be tempted. By blocking them, we activate our ‘second freedom’, which secures the choice of our ‘first freedom’.
This teaching is important for our spiritual path because, given our weaknesses, it is necessary to take appropriate measures so that these weaknesses do not triumph over us, but that we know how to fight them. The inner fortress of our soul must be protected and the life of grace must be preserved so that it can unfold in us!
The wise man listens to the voice of the Lord and puts all his trust in God. Day after day, he strives to know and do His will. If he has failed, he asks forgiveness, reconciles with God and learns from his mistakes. After a defeat, he does not stay down or give up in his spiritual efforts, but allows himself to be lifted up by God and continues on his way. Confidence assures him that God loves him infinitely, is always ready to sustain him in his weakness, and supports him in all his efforts for good. Therefore the wise man does not rely on his own strength, but his strength is in the Lord.
This trust in God’s goodness sustains him when storms come upon his life and enemies surround him on all sides. The prudent man has built the house of his life on God! And there he is safe!
NOTE: Since today is the 7th day of the month, which we always dedicate in a special way to our Heavenly Father, we want to invite you to listen to the “3 minutes for Abba”, which is a small impulse that we publish daily in order to deepen the relationship of trust with God the Father. You can find them in the following links: