St. Ambrose was a man who heard well the words of today’s Gospel:
Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
While he was still a catechumen, St. Ambrose was chosen as bishop of Milan and was consecrated on December 7, 374. Ambrose was a classically educated man, a revered Scripture Scholar and a solid preacher. It is his preaching that in some ways influenced St. Augustine to convert to Catholicism, and it was Ambrose who baptized Augustine.
Ambrose was a man not just of great learning, but also great courage. He strongly defended the Church against attacks by the Arians, and also by the empire. Ambrose specifically admonished Emperor Theodosius for the massacre of 7,000 innocent people. The emperor did public penance for his crime.
St. Ambrose’s sermons and his works tell us that he was a very educated man who was willing to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the issues of the day. He practiced what he preached and he was not shy about calling people to repentance. He was able to influence learned men such as Augustine, and won many converts to the Church.
Indeed, St. Ambrose knew well that it was imperative to build one’s spiritual house on rock by hearing and acting on the words of Jesus. As Isaiah tells us today, those words are trustworthy, and have power to trample out the proud and arrogant. May all of our thoughts and actions this day and every day aim at building on that solid rock.