Scripture: June 23, Lectionary # 374: Genesis 16:1-2, 15-16.  Psalm
106:1-2.3-4.4-5. Matthew 7:21-29

Thursday's Readings

Today's Gospel is both the ending of the Sermon on the Mount and also the
conclusion of the firs of five parts that is ordinarily given by those who
outline the Gospel of Matthew for us. We will now be hearing in the liturgy
of the word the second part (Matthew 8:1-10:42) that deals with the
ministry of Jesus in Galilee and his mission to the people of God, Israel.
Jesus is preaching a renewed Israel and a mission of good works and a call
to conversion on the part of all who listen to him.

The conclusion of the Sermon of Jesus is strong and is a warning to us that
we are to put our faith into active works of love and charity, to practice
and behave in accordance with what we share or speak as the Gospel, and
above all to "do the will of God."  Being and doing are important to the
Gospel message.  Jesus surprises us by saying that neither praying Lord,
Lord, nor prophesying, nor casting out demons, nor performing miracles are
a sign that we are fully integrated into what Jesus has shared with us in
the Sermon on the Mount.  "Only the one who does the will of my Father in
heaven, will enter the kingdom of God."

As disciples (learners) and apostles (doers) of the Lord Jesus we are to
live as Jesus lived--selfgiving in our love for others, and good stewards
of God's creation, as well as those who are atuned to the living voice of
Jesus. It is only Jesus who saves not us!  We are simply creative agents of
what God has done in Jesus who alone is our Savior. We shun the tendency of
being messianic ourselves and only look to the one Messiah.

Again, Fr. Brown summarizes this ending of the Sermon in a concise and
helpful way: "The praise of those who hear Jesus's words (Matthw 7:24-27)
as building a well-founded house almost constitutes a judgment against
those who reject him. The "When Jesus finished these words" terminates the
sermon, with the accompanying theme of astonishment at the authority of
Jesus' teaching."  Jesus always teaches from within the power within him
(the Holy Spirit) therefore he teaches with authority.

We could do ourselves a service by rereading the entire Sermon on the Mount
sometime this today or sometime during this week to capture the bigger
picture and the full force of Jesus' blueprint for a blessed, that is, a
happy life. Amen. (Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7 of Matthew).