In 1174, an Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on a bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa.
>> The tower was to be around 185 feet tall.
There was just one “little” problem:
The builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated…
>> And soon the whole structure had begun to tilt…
… and it continued to tilt…
… until finally the realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again!
(Quite interestingly, the word “Pisa” means “Marshy Land,” which gives some clue as to why the tower began to lean even before it was completed!)
The tower has stood for over 800 years but there are still problems!
What was the problem?
>> Was it bad design?
>> Poor workmanship?
>> An inferior grade of materials?
The problem was what was underneath.
>> The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was must not stable enough to support a monument of this size.
The problems all stem from a faulty foundation!
>> And the same holds good for our lives too!
Many problems in life emerge because of a very poor and shaky foundation…
>> One fails to do well in academic studies…
… if one has a poor foundation in the fundamentals of the subject.
>> One fails to be emotionally stable…
… if one has a poor foundation of not having received affection in the early years.
>> One fails to achieve expertise in a skill or an art…
… if one has a poor foundation in the essentials and the basics.
The higher the aims and achievements, the greater must be the basics!
>> The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid!
This is a message and an exhortation that is delivered by Jesus in today’s Gospel reading.
We have been with the Lord, over the last few days, listening to His teaching named as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, which is a call to perfect discipleship.
St Matthew’s Gospel, today, concludes this amazing teaching with the fundamental requirement of a True Disciple: “Listening & Obeying God’s Will in One’s life”.
Jesus says: “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” (Mt 7:21)
Too often in life, we are surrounded by people, who misuse and abuse the forum of Religion, for their own selfish desires and gains…
>> Religion, in oft ways, is today, the platform for gaining cheap popularity and loathsome recognition and fame and fulfilling one’s personal agenda and goals!!
But the Lord, the powerful-challenger, comes down heavily on such an attitude : A liking to be Spiritual just on the External…
… but unwilling to perform deeds in accord with God’s Will…!
It’s all too easy…
… to just listen to the teachings of Jesus
… be in awe of them
… get mesmerized by them
… and proclaiming oneself to be a Servant and Follower of Jesus!
(There is a great crowd of people in this category!)
But when it comes to actual situations of fulfilling the Will of Jesus, in our lives…
… it’s a real pain and suffering!
( And no wonder, the number of people in this category, very often, is too little!)
The Lord, today….. invites us to examine the Foundation of our lives…
… Have we built our Lives on Shaky Sand?
… Or on The Resolute Rock?
Jesus speaks of the Parable of the Two Foundations: One on sand; the other on the rock.
>> The one who has built one’s life on a sandy foundation fails to stand firm in the storms of life
>> The one who has built one’s life on a rock foundation remains strong and stable in the storms of life.
The laying of every foundation requires a process of Excavation….a Digging!
Do we want to build a strong foundation?
…then we need to undergo the Procedure of Digging!
>> Can we dig deeper into our lives…
… and see what are the areas in which I need a healing and a touch of the Lord?
>> Can we dig deeper into our minds…
… and see what really are my motivations in life and what I really want in life?
>> Can we dig deeper into our hearts…
… and examine what are my desires and to what things I get attracted?
>> Can we dig deeper into our relationships…
… and check whether there is authenticity or are they just hollow?
This process of digging into the various areas of our life can be an experience of varied sorts…
>> We could have pain to dig out some of our evil tendencies and abandon them.
>> We could have uneasiness to dig out some of our luxurious likings and let go off them.
>> We could have agitation to dig out some of our unhealthy tendencies and discard them.
>> We could have discomfort to dig out some of our lazy inclinations in spiritual life and dispose them.
Perhaps some of us may we feel that we have already built up fine structures and can be proud to have a good career, a stable family life, a flourishing bank balance, an enjoyable lifestyle etc…
… but the Lord invites us to check the Strength of each of these structures…
>> Is my Family Life able to withstand the storms of misunderstandings, constant quarrels and breakdowns?
>> Is my Spiritual Life able to withstand the storms of doubts, fears, discouragements and persecutions?
>> Is my Professional Life able to withstand the storms of failures, disappointments and collapses?
>> Is my Social Life able to withstand the storms of rejection, humiliation and indifferences?
Fame, Money, Prestige, Pleasures, doing things just for the sake of it or out of force,…these are SANDS, on which the Structure of Life, will be instable & shaky!
>> Honesty, Truthfulness, Seeking to do God’s will at all times, suffering patiently for the sake of the good..these constitute THE ROCK, on which the Edifice of Life, will be stable and firm!
We need the Lord Himself as the Firm Foundation of all the structures in our life!
>> With Him, all storms can be withstood and all winds and gales can be endured!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, is famous as a wonder of the world.
But, if not for the repair & renovation works, that was undertaken later…
…it would have long back, collapsed to the ground!
Let our lives not “lean” like this tower with a “Faulty Foundation”…
>> Rather, let it be secure and stable with “Jesus, the Firm Foundation”!
Let Jesus alone be the Firm Rock and the Grand Forte of our lives!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
– Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS