12 September, 2020. Saturday of Week 23

12 September, 2020. Saturday of Week 23

The Most Holy Name of Mary (Opt. Mem.); St Ailbe, bishop (Opt. Mem.)

1st Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body

Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Responsorial: from Psalm 115

R./: To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise

How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the Lord’s name. (R./)
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make:
I will call on the Lord’s name.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.  (R./)

Gospel: Luke 6:43-49

The house of faith built securely on rock, survives the flood

Jesus said to his disciples: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
“Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”


Built on rock

In the Bible, the image of “Rock” mainly symbolises strength, consistency and trustworthiness. The exceptions are where the rock is a source of nourishment, such as when water or honey flow from it (Num 20:11; Ps 81:17). In St Paul’s fertile imagination, the rock from which water flowed in the desert actually followed the people along the journey – and that rock was Christ! (1 Cor 10:4). Isaiah speaks of the rock supporting the temple where God dwells among his people (Is 28:16 ). And the Psalmist acclaims God as the rock of our salvation(Ps Ps 95:1). Matthew 16:18 has Simon Peter named as rock or foundation of the church. Putting these together, the rock is a symbol of God’s unshakeable reliable fidelity. Our lives can be built upon this rock.
People who care only for personal gain and material wealth are building on shifting sand. They put no trust in the Lord and are swayed only by passions and emotions. Anger can rule them before they can think, so that rash words are spoken that cannot be unsaid. In a rush to make a quick profit, wisdom is ignored. Faced with hardship, this person is not dependable. “When the river burst against it, immediately it fell,” as the Gospel warns.

Sure foundations

What is visible and tangible is not all that matters. The two houses in today’s parable may have looked the same, in fine weather. But it turns out that they were very different. One was built on sand and the other on solid rock. That most important part of a house, its foundation, is invisible. We are urged to have a sure foundation, below the surface of our living. Just as the two houses had to withstand flood conditions, we ourselves often we have to deal with various difficulties, relating to our health, our relationships, our work. Our ability to cope with those issues will depend on how solidly we are grounded.
Jesus offers himself as the foundation for our faith. Listening to him, we build our spiritual lives on rock, able to cope with the storms of life. We need to constantly hear his call, and build our lives on him.


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