Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lord, Lord

Today's Gospel (Matthew 7: 21, 24-27) contains an interesting statement. Jesus says "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." Notice it does not say that no one who says "Lord, Lord", but rather "not everyone". And the example he gives is also an interesting twist on doing the will of the Father. We are presented with two men, each of whom has built a house. One built it on rock, the other on sand. Now presumably both had been told the proper way to build, or at least had watched others build houses. Certainly the man should have known that a house built on sand would not last. But, in the context of this teaching, he believed that his prayer ("Lord, Lord") would be enough to insure the stability of his house, despite what common sense and experts would have said. How wrong!
You see, when we cry out "Lord, Lord" we are asking for God's help. And God always provides help, though not always in the way we expect. For instance, both men should have asked others what was the best way to build, the sturdiest construction techniques, etc. But only one man actually accepted God help by listening to that advice. It is the same if we pray to be healed from an illness but don't go to the doctor. Or pray for financial help and refuse to look for a job.
We build our house on good, solid rock when we see God answering our prayers through the gifts He has given others. And we become the way God answers the prayers of others when we use our gifts for their benefit. Your willingness to serve at a local soup kitchen is how God responds to the "Lord, Lord" of the hungry. Your volunteer time at a nursing home is the way God answers the "Lord, Lord" of the lonely. Your listening ear is God's answering the "Lord, Lord" of one who grieves. In so many ways, God is constantly answering prayers. If only we could be more aware of these answers, perhaps we would more readily cooperate with the will of the Father when we daily cry out "Lord, Lord."

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