Quality Foundations

1 December 2005: Thursday of the 1st Week of Advent
Matthew 7, 21-26: Sts. Edmund Campion, Robert Southwell & companions

I found this story years ago. It is the perfect story for the Gospel today about the house built on rock. Let the story bring you to its very point.

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor.

The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently.

But we cannot go back. We are the carpenter. Each day we hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.

The reason we study is for us to render quality service in the future. How much we put into our studies would reflect the quality of our work in the future--- and the quality of our lives. When we study, we act on what the Season of Advent asks of us: the virtue of patient preparation. Studying is our way of constructing our house.

The point of the Gospel is this: Only a house whose foundations are firm can withstand the storm; Only a faith whose foundations are strong can survive the ebbs and tides of life; and only a life whose foundations are sure can stand the test.

Our attitudes and the choices we make today build the ‘house’ we live in tomorrow. As we celebrate the Season of Advent, let us look at our choices and see whether we are building wisely!

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