By Dr. Scott Hahn
This Sunday’s Gospel takes us to the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Like Moses in this week’s First Reading, Jesus climbed a mountain to deliver the Word of God’s covenant to His people (Exodus 24:12–18). This covenant Word requires a great deal from us. Far more than our simple hearing and acceptance of Jesus’ “message.”
That’s because the Gospel is not a philosophy, a set of good ideas for living. It is God’s fatherly will for history. It is the good news of His kingdom, of the divine family He has come to create on earth in His Church.
The Word of God comes to us as a call to the obedience of faith (Romans 16:26). We must take this Word to heart, letting it dwell richly within our souls (Colossians 3:16). We must allow ourselves to be led, to be guided by the Word that comes to us in His name.
That’s what we mean in this week’s Psalm—when we sing of the Lord as our rock of refuge. Jesus also gives us this image of the solid rock. He promises that if we live by His Word we will have an eternal foundation to withstand the storms and trials of our lives.
Jesus is the new Solomon, bringing us the Wisdom of God (1Kings 3:10–12). And like Solomon, he builds a house of God, a Temple, on a rock of foundation (1Kings 5:17; 8:27). Jesus is the Wisdom of God made flesh. The Church is the new household and Temple of God, built on the cornerstone of Christ (Luke 7:35; Ephesians 2:19–22).
We will be judged by his Word. But this is not a matter of external works, as Jesus makes clear. That is Paul’s point too in this week’s Epistle. We must do the Father’s will, which is our sanctification—knowing we’ve been justified, made right before God, by Christ’s saving death (1Thessalonians 4:3). It’s this redemption, our expiation by His blood, that we celebrate and participate in this Eucharist.
Dr. Scott Hahn is professor of theology at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio. He was formerly a Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism in 1986. Lighthouse Catholic Media has many of his talks on CD or for download.
Photo: Detail of The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Vatican