CONCLUDING HIS DISCOURSE, Jesus urged His disciples to be persistent and ever vigilant. The road to salvation is arduous:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it.”
False teachers beset the way to salvation; but they may be recognized by the evil effects of their teaching.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.”
Self-deception is another peril. Outward conformity is not enough; we must be practical Christians.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Thy name, and cast out devils in Thy name, and work many miracles in Thy name? And then 1 will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity!”
“Everyone therefore who hears these My words and acts upon them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house on rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not fall, because it was founded on rock. And everyone who hears these My words and does not act upon them, shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house on sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and was utterly ruined.”
Meditation: At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount Our Lord gave the universal prescription for holiness: “Do the will of My Father.” Whether pleasurable or painful, whether others approve or disapprove, whether others are doing it or not, the will of God must be my guide. God speaks to me through my conscience, through the directions of those in authority, through His written word in the Holy Scriptures. My effort must be to be always docile before His holy will.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 61-62. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.