Build a House on Rock Not Sand

In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that a wise person builds his house on rock, not sand. When a house is built on rock, the rains can fall, the floods can come and the winds can blow, but the house will not collapse. When it is built on sand, the rains, floods and wind will collapse and completely ruin the house.

As I sat with the passage in prayer this morning, I was reminded of the parable of the sower, and the difference between seeds sown on a path, a rocky place or among thorns and seeds sown on good soil. I think both passages carry the same message.

I see four possibilities for those who have been exposed to the Word of God:

One can hear the Word of God and ignore it completely.

One can hear the Word of God and mouth assent to what it teaches, but do nothing to change one’s behavior to act in accordance with it.

One can hear the Word of God and, by force of will, try to act in accordance with the Word.

One can hear the Word of God and allow the Word to completely transform one, so that acting in accordance with it is no longer simply an act of the will but a natural product of a life given over to God.

I think only the fourth is a house built on rock (or “good soil” to use the language of the parable of the sower. If we do not allow the Word of God to transform us, we don’t really have a solid foundation. And that means there is always the danger that storms of one kind or another will weaken us. I believe what Jesus asks of us – what Jesus tells us we need – is a complete transformation of our hearts.