Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 21: Year 1
On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.” (Matthew 7:22 and 23)
Here our Lord Jesus makes it clear that God can, and will use any of us, with, or without us being aware of our fulfillment of God’s will.
We, especially clerics, can pass on the word of God and even do the miraculous actions that God wants done. But if in our hearts we are not totally genuine in our walk of faith, God will know. And of them (us) our Lord Jesus says, “I never knew YOU.” Jesus is aware of the conversions we prompted, and the positive outcomes in the lives of people with whom we brought to Christ. But if while doing the Lord’s work we also participated in immoral acts known to be sinful, we remove ourselves from the circle of those whom Jesus knows.
This fellowship of Jesus extends beyond the clergy. As God can, and does, uses any of us to fulfill the dream of God, all of us have the personal responsibility to stay the righteous course in life. We personally have to walk our talk. We can’t just tell others to do the right thing, we too must do the right thing. Some commentaries recount that Jesus here quotes Psalm 6:8 in saying, “Go away from me, you evildoers.” Therefore, what we profess and what we do may be drastically different. It is up to us individually to seek divine help in correcting our missteps.
If we truly are trying to master the art of love, it will be shown in our everyday ways of living. It won’t just be about what we say, or about how we give to charities, but how we live. We will not return evil for evil. We will not think of anyone as less valuable than ourselves. We will strive to love all people, and we will try especially hard to love those who often prove difficult to love. It is in this way that on that Day, “ The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25: 34 to 36)
Our lives are about love. We were brought into be through love in order that we might love.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John