Our Lord’s story about the houses built on rock and sand remind me two buildings built in our coastal town of Korea in June of 1953. The way they weathered the storm, is teaching me something about fixing my life on the rock of Christ’s teaching.
In that town our church and rectory were on a sharp hill just above the harbor, and the police had recently completed a frame structure on the sand immediately below us. As well, that June I had been trying to help two young married Catholics who were building a two-room house they would share.
For their place they planned a four foot deep kitchen at one end. Then, the house proper would consist of two nine-by-nine rooms, one for each family. That had them setting up eight corner posts. I was in on their digging a four-foot hole for each post, and I was with them carting up eight boulders from a streambed. I watched them slide each of the boulders into its hole. And I watched them fix a corner post on each boulder, going on to pour concrete around it in its hole.
From the black market the boys bought a huge spool of communication wire which they weaved over and over between the uprights, making a thick netting . When they had prepared a trough of oozy wet clay, I got into the act, plastering muck onto the webbing. With it drying soon enough, they whitewashed those walls; and, of course, they finished off the structure with a thatched roof.
My Irish pastor was away then, but he had built the rectory and church walls with poured concrete. I felt snug in there through a night of howling hurricane winds. In the morning when I could venture out onto our yard, I found that a third of our hill had slid down, taking all of the framed police barracks into the harbor.
Then, with the bright brown mud of our road looking like a long tureen of bean soup, I got into hip high waders, and I sloshed down to find intact the house the boys had built on rock.
Our Lord’s parable was not about house building, but about building secure lives. We do that by founding our lives on the solid rock of the rules for justice and love he laid out for us in the Sermon on the Mount.