Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 16:1-12.15-16; Matthew 7:21-29)
At the end of today’s gospel passage the crowds are described as “astonished.” It is not what Jesus says that amazes them but how he speaks. He teaches with authority; that is with both truth and conviction. He boldly condemns those who call him Lord but do not do his will. He artfully compares them to a fool who builds a house on sand that will be swept away in a flood.
The passage ends the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ initial discourse in the Gospel of Matthew. The evangelist has presented him as no less than a divine figure who may be called for now the Son of God. Of course, this identity was already revealed in the infancy narrative at the beginning of the gospel. But now its meaning is more defined. Jesus comes to teach true righteousness that comes to pass only with the grace of God on one who turns her mind to perfection.
The end of the section gives us a pause to take stock. Are we willing to follow the blueprint to holiness that Jesus has just drawn in the Sermon? In many ways it runs counter to both our culture and our desires. But it leads to the happiness that Jesus proclaimed at the beginning of the discourse – the Kingdom of heaven.