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June 28: St. Irenaeus, Bishop & Martyr

Reading II Kings 24:8-17
Gospel Matthew 7:21-29

“...only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven...”

Today the Church proclaims the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, has at the beginning of His public ministry proclaimed this great sermon in order to move those listening to follow Him all the Way to Calvary, where He will accomplish our salvation. Jesus did not come into this world primarily to teach, but to save. Nonetheless, His teaching serves His saving mission. How can we be saved if we don’t know that we need saving? How can we be saved if we don’t accept Christ as Our Savior, and follow Him as the way that leads to salvation?

His Sermon on the Mount is often considered the masterpiece of Jesus’ teaching. As such, this sermon could serve as a template for any teacher. One example of its brilliance is the way in which Jesus, in the sermon’s last section, brings to a head what He’s been focusing upon throughout. As any good teacher does, His last words sum up and reiterate a major point of His lesson. What point do we hear in today’s final words from this sermon?

Twice in this passage Jesus firmly declares the disciple’s need to unite his will with God the Father and God the Son. Jesus says first that “only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” “will enter the Kingdom of heaven”. A few moments later Jesus says that “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” “The will of [Jesus’] Father” and “these words of [Jesus]” are, therefore, where each of us needs to concentrate our prayer and moral efforts.