Only a house whose foundations are firm can withstand storms, Jesus says in today’s gospel; and only a life whose foundations are sure can stand the many tests that come its way. To build a strong foundation for life, Jesus asks for two things.
First, he asks that we listen. One of the great difficulties which face us today is the simple fact that many no longer even know what Jesus has taught. The words of Jesus are slowly being lost to the vast majority of people in today’s world, sometimes even among Christians themselves. The first step to a genuine Christian life is simply to give Jesus a chance to be heard.
Second, he also asks that we act. Knowledge only becomes relevant when it is translated into action. There is little point in going to a doctor, unless we are prepared to do the things he tells us. And yet there are many who listen to the teachings of Christ every Sunday, but make little or no attempt to put it into practice. If we are to be real followers of Jesus we must learn from him and act upon what we have learned.
Is there any word in which hearing and doing are summed up? There is such a word, and it is ‘obedience’. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”, Jesus says. “But only those who do the will of the Father in heaven”.