Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ninth Sunday of the Year A

The Wise Man built his house upon the Rock

Jesus' parables are often a challenge to me. He speaks from the experience of people around him, so they are often about agriculture - like the parable of the sower - or occasionally from his own profession - the building trade.

I’m afraid I am a very poor gardener - not in the sense that I can’t get things to grow - but they all grow too fast and too many of them in the wrong places. It’s shameful really as it was my grandfather’s profession and as a little boy I spent many happy hours helping him in his greenhouses.
And then when it comes to DIY … well, I can change a light bulb, and I am safest as far as possible away from any other practical project.

So how can I approach the parables? Well thankfully you do not need to be skilled in either area to understand them. No technical terms, notice, in this story about the houses, but they do have both a practical and a spiritual sense.

The practical meaning is pretty obvious to all. The quickest way to achieve something is not necessarily the best. The house built on sand was built much more quickly and more easily. It would have looked just as good - perhaps even better - than the house on rock. But it had a fatal flaw.

And there is also a spiritual meaning. Faith is a hard road. It may not make life easier. There are those who seem to have more fun, less anxiety, are richer, healthier. Those who follow the faith may struggle forcing foundations into the rock. It may take time to see results. There may be hardship, sorrow, crises of conscience along the way. Faith does not rescue us from suffering, but it does give us a hope. The house on sand is beautiful till the storms come. The storms batter the house on rock too, but it has the foundations to stand firm.

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