‘Why do you call me “Lord, Lord”, and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.’
Today’s reading comes from the end of what some folk call Jesus’ sermon on the plain – Luke’s equivalent of Matthew’s sermon on the mount. These include some of Jesus’ most challenging teaching, so it’s doubly challenging that it’s at this point that Jesus asks those listening, ‘Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ but not do what I say?’
Luke tells us that those listening to Jesus’ sermon on the plain included not only the newly appointed twelve Apostles, but also ‘a large crowd of his disciples and a great number of people from all over’. Jesus tells all of them that everyone who comes to him, as they have done, and puts his words into practice is building their lives on a firm foundation. The sort of foundation that can stand up to the storms of life.
So Jesus is clear that the possibility of a life built on this rock-like foundation is open to everyone from the moment that they first encounter him. However, those of us who have tried to do this and are honest about the results will have found ourselves too often in the same position as Paul – recognising that ‘what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do’.
Nevertheless, we are called to put Jesus’ teaching into practice in all aspects of our lives. In our actions and in how we do them, in our words and in how we say them, in our souls and in how we relate to God. To do this, we need to keep returning to the sermon on the plain and to reflect more critically on what it could mean to more nearly live out Jesus’ words.
Lord Jesus, We dare to call out to you today. We dare to acknowledge you as our Lord and our God. And yet we know that too often we do not do what you say. Too many times we fall short of what you ask of us. Forgive us. Show us once more your will and your way Help us to see clearly what you are asking us to do. Help us to follow you, and to do what you say for we ask it in your name, Amen.