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The wisdom of Jesus is extraordinary, life-changing, victorious, surprising.
Do you love wisdom, do you seek out wisdom, or do you avoid it and ignore it? Welcome to Radical and Relevant, where we're exploring the enduring wisdom of Jesus' teachings. In today's reading from the seventh chapter of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus reveals what is required to be a true disciple and teaches that there are two very different foundations upon which people build their lives. Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name? And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers." Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his home upon the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house. But it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell and great was the fall of it.
Two related words jump out at me today: wise and fool. Wisdom is beyond information and knowledge. It is the alchemy of truth and action. To be truly wise is to live out the truth that God has revealed to us. To act foolishly is to lurch at life thoughtlessly and imprudently. Wisdom is a function of maturity, and some people never grow up. Are you wisely building your life on rock or foolishly building your life on sand? The phrase that grabs my attention in this passage is, "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." Here, Jesus is explaining, with unmistakable clarity, what it means to be a true disciple, how we join ourselves in union with God in this life, and what is required to enter the kingdom of heaven. And it's simple, do the will of God. What complicates this invitation is our desire to do our own will or to bend the will of others for personal gain or ego affirmation. How do we accomplish the monumental task of seeking, knowing, and doing God's will? One moment at a time. Some moments are holy, some of them are unholy, and you get to decide. The will of God is that you fill your life with holy moments. And the idea that strikes me in this passage is this: Words don't matter much. I think about this passage a lot as a speaker and an author. The very personal translation of this passage for myself is, not everyone who writes best-selling books about the faith and gives rousing speeches about the faith will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father." Jesus is essentially saying, "Don't tell me, show me." And I think the people of our age, who have become weary of religion that is preached but not lived, are saying the same thing to us when we try to speak to them about the genius of Catholicism. They're saying, "Don't tell me, show me." They want to see it lived. They want to know that it is possible. And in every place and every time where it has been boldly lived, even by just one person, those we call saints, the impact of that one life has been extraordinary. It's time you and me unleashed a tidal wave of holy moments on the world.
Today's virtue is wisdom. Give it a throne in your heart and place it at the center of your thoughts, words, and actions. There are three ways to come by wisdom. The first, and noblest, is by reflection. The next is by imitation, which is the easiest. And the third is by experience. And this is the bitter path. The world is full of folly and foolishness. Common sense is disappearing from our culture at the speed of light. The lack of good judgment and abounding stupidity that mark our age of poisoning our souls. Step away from the world each day. Enter into the classroom of silence. Immerse yourself in noble reflection, and God will flood your heart, mind, and soul with a wisdom that is so rare, it will astonish all who encounter you.
Astonish. I've been using that word over and again deliberately. My reason? When Christianity is lived, it astonishes people. It always has. It always will. Our mighty faith has always spread by attraction and not by promotion as so many mistakenly believe is the answer to the problems the church faces today. The history of Christianity can be traced through the magnetic attraction of authentic lives. It's time to love and cherish wisdom. Seek it out every chance you get. It is time to boldly live the wisdom of God and the wisdom God has bestowed in your heart. The gospel of Jesus Christ is as radical and relevant today as ever before. It is dripping with the wisdom that our world so desperately needs. Let's go out into the world today and astonish people with gospel wisdom. And remember, don't just be yourself, be the very best version of yourself, all that God has created you to be.
Thank you, Ambassadors.
You are changing the world. Have a great day. Bye-bye.
Simon, come sit.
I love you.
Have a great day! [applause]