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There was once a wealthy builder who called his top assistant and said, “I’m going away for a year. While I am gone, I want you to oversee the building of my new home. I’m going to be retiring in a few years. I’ve got great blueprints and a lot by the lake. I want you to be my general contractor while I am gone.”

As he left, the assistant said to himself, “He lives in luxury and has done little for me. When he retires, what will I have?” So the assistant used every opportunity to feather his own nest. He used inferior materials and used second-grade workmen. When the house was completed, it looked fine on the outside, but its deficiencies with materials and workmanship would show up in time, many of them would be serious.

When the wealthy builder returned, he asked his assistant if he liked the house. He said that it was magnificent. Then the builder surprised him, “I’m retiring next year and I want to repay you for all the work you have done for me. The house is yours!”

You and I live in the houses that we have built. I observe a spouse continually teasing their spouse. In time I caution them about this and try to direct them to get counselling. He or she feels that their teasing is innocent and done in jest. In time I learn that they are separated.

You and I live in the houses that we have built. Our doctors advise us about what foods we should or should not eat and the exercise we need to do. But we have a mind and a will of our own. We may joke: “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

In today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 7:21, 24-27) Jesus tells us to build our houses and our lives on rock and not on sand. This is the only way in the long run that we can survive and thrive.

More than a few of us are living our lives on faulty foundations. Our society tells us “to be our own person” and to be self-sufficient. All we need to do is to develop our own potential and to live on our own strength. This may well be a faulty foundation.

Your meditation for this Advent Thursday –Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that you will discover that Jesus is the Rock at the bottom.

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