Thursday, June 23, 2011

“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.”

"Living to glorify God means doing everything for Him, His way, to point to His greatness and to reflect His goodness."

Gospel text (Mt 7,21-29):
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

Why does the Lord "pick on" Spirit-filled people? Billions of people are not doing God's will, but the Lord focuses on those with spiritual gifts of prophecy, deliverance, and miracles (Mt 7:22). He even threatens to declare solemnly to charismatics: "I never knew you. Out of My sight, you evildoers!" (Mt 7:23)

The Lord also picks on Spirit-filled people in the famous passage about love. Many people in this world lack love. In some way, everyone is unloving, but the Lord once again focuses on those with spiritual gifts of tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, ministry to the poor, and martyrdom (1 Cor 13:1-3). People with these gifts are extremely blessed, but the Lord calls them "noisy gongs," "clanging cymbals," and even "nothing" unless they have love (see 1 Cor 13:1-3).

Today’s Gospel reading, while it could appear to be chastisement for not following God’s will or merely hearing words but not putting what Jesus taught into action, his words ooze love. These sayings are meant to point people toward the ability to live fulfilling lives on this earth with as much joy, happiness, and love for others as possible. Jesus is telling us to not live for ourselves, continuing to do good things without the foundation of God’s love guiding our actions or to hear what he preaches and then disregard the teachings as not being applicable to us. He desires with his whole heart that we let his language burn into our hearts, minds, and lips to feel his love, realize his life story, and share with others his message.

The Lord picks on Spirit-filled people because He has given them so much. He expects much from those who have been given much (Lk 12:48). The power of those who have accepted their spiritual gifts is so great that the Lord especially challenges them to repentance, obedience, and love.

Today's contemplation and our prayer, must be followed by a serious consideration: how do I speak and behave like a Christian in my life?; how do I define my testimony?; how do I undertake the commandment of love in my life, whether personal, family, professional, etc.? Our prayer should always be an expression of our craving for doing good deeds along with a request for help, because we recognize our own failings.

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