Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
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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.”
I am shocked! Christ’s words today a bit disconcerting to me, for it seems like the ones who are doing great things are not going to make it far in the future. He says to his disciples, “Many will say to me…’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.’”
Ouch! These people are evildoers? Com’on. What’s going on?
Pride and annoyance. All talents and gifts come from the Lord. What we do with them are our gifts back to Him. If we forget this, we run the risk of being forgotten and left out.
A few years ago I received a letter from a parishioner demanding that something be done to silence our Catholic congregation. Apparently, they did not consider it appropriate or respectful or prayerful to applaud after a homily. [I hoped they were not upset because the noise disturbed their sleep!]
Anyways, they insisted that something be done about it.
Well, there is nothing wrong with driving out demons, doing mighty deeds in His name, and a congregation applauding after a homily…as long as it doesn’t go to the disciple’s head!
Notice: Out of all the examples the Lord could have used, why did He have to use “driving out demons” and performing “mighty deeds in His name?” Why not something more frivolous and ridiculous, like praying to God for a successful terrorist attack or drug cartel hit? Why did the Lord take great achievements and turn them into stone?
Sure, we all want to do great things for the Lord. But we have to be careful it doesn’t turn into something less Godly, like ourselves.
The Lord’s warning is well-founded because it is well-rooted in sinful human pride; and pride is not always obvious – it can easily be masked as piety and holiness.
Sure, I want to give a great homily for the Lord. Sure, I want to please my congregation, but am I doing it for the Lord or am I doing it more for myself? That is the heavenly question!
Today, the Lord is inviting His disciples to examine their conscience.
Do I work just as hard on my weekday homilies as I do on weekend ones? No. Not at all. Why? Because the congregation is smaller, less awake and don’t give an offering (just kidding).
Do I turn down invitations from organizations because they are irrelevant or small in numbers?
Do I pray “better” when I am alone or with other people? This is like saying, “Do I use table manners when I dine alone or just when I am around other people?” Understand?
“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.”
House of cards. To prevent your life from falling apart, earnestly and energetically examine your conscience. Every so often we need to examine our conscience. In doing so, we will find our faults and weaknesses, but also the resources and graces to reinforce our lives.