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tornadoReading the gospel this morning from Matthew about houses built on sand and rock brought to mind images of the terrible devastation in so many places in our country that were buffeted by floods and tornados this year. It is instructive to replay those images and listen again in my head to the people being interviewed on the news, people who have “lost everything” and are generally standing in the rubble of what was once their home. To a person, they recount their losses saying that they’re grateful because the only thing that mattered was that their loved ones were safe. Some said they don’t know what to do now, most spoke of rebuilding, but always – even through tears – they speak of gratitude to God for what matters: those they love.

It appears from this reflection that these people have not built their lives on things that do not last. Sometimes, it’s only when we lose what we call (and what truly are) our “prized possessions” that we learn what we can do without. But in the end, the good advice that Jesus gives this morning is what we need to pay attention to when we think about all this. He says:

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like the wise [person] who built a house on rock . The rain fell and the flood came. The wind blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse, because it was built on rock.