St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Reading Isaiah 26:1-6
Gospel Matthew 7:21,24-27

… we bless you from the house of the Lord.

Likely you’ve had a conversation with a fellow Christian who insists that the entire Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—must be interpreted literally. The next time that occurs, offer your fellow Christian this sentence from today’s First Reading—“For the Lord is an eternal Rock.”—and ask if the Lord is literally a rock. The absurdity of the question shows that a single Scripture verse may have multiple meanings, at times transcending the literal meaning.

Most of us would say without hesitation that describing the Lord as “an eternal Rock” is a metaphor. This metaphor tells us how solid, sturdy and dependable God always is. That’s a pretty simple and straightforward idea. Jesus in today’s Gospel uses the same metaphor in a little different way. In the way that Jesus tweaks this metaphor, He gives us a good Advent reflection.

Jesus says: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them[…] will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” In Jesus’ comparison here, what does the image of the “rock” stand for? Jesus Himself answered that “the one who does the will of my Father” “will enter… heaven”. It’s “the will of [God the] Father” that is the “rock” on which the wise man builds. God’s holy Will, in other words, is rock-solid. So we might reflect today on Jesus’ words as an encouragement to ourselves to be more like God: that is, to be dependable in our decisions, and unwavering in the midst of influences that tempt us to take the broad and easy path.