Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

“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.”  MT. 24-25

Only two months or so ago, hurricanes and earthquakes devastated parts of Florida, Texas, the Caribbean islands and Mexico.  Newscasts showed terrible destruction and lives lost or severely disrupted.  One could not help but notice that many structures were not designed to withstand the worst that nature could throw against them.   In the Caribbean, poverty made it impossible to do more than put shanties together for a home.  In Mexico, the oldest part of the city is built on a former lake bed without a rocky foundation.  In an earthquake, that kind of soil turns almost liquid and dooms anything built on it.   The vivid imagery of Jesus’ words at the end of his Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel. According to Matthew seems to come alive in these natural tragedies, but the words are a spiritual challenge to pay attention to his teaching.  We are challenged not just to listen but to act, or else the worst that the secular world can throw against us will leave us devastated.  Isaiah’s words add to the challenge:

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.     IS 26:4-6

In Advent, we place our trust in the God who is to be born among us.  We can listen to God’s word and act on it in a way that counters the secular “buy, buy, buy” and the songs that have no place for our hope.  Jesus offers us a “piece of the Rock” to stand on.  Are we ready to listen and act?  AMEN.