Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Kings 24:8-17; Matthew 7:21-29)
Jesus in today’s gospel could well have been commenting on our first reading. That passage from the Second Book of Kings takes note of the final days of the Kingdom of Judah. After the spring of renewal with Josiah, Judah’s kings returned to idolatrous ways. Now the entire kingdom experiences downfall. The king of Babylon carries off the nation’s wealth and a sizeable number of its population.
In the gospel Jesus warns about basing one’s life on wickedness. He compares it to building a house on sand which will give way in a storm. It is necessary, Jesus says, to construct a house on rock which provides a firm foundation. Rock, which is often an image of God himself, symbolizes here Jesus’ moral teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.
History may be described as the sequence of great nations falling because of the deterioration of virtue. Many peoples have built empires which eroded as the people lost their bearings of righteousness. Rome is the greatest example. We Americans must assure that our country’s laws are firmly grounded on morality if the nation’s future is to resemble its past.