12th Week in Ord. Time, Thursday – 25th June 2020 — Gospel: Mt 7,21-29
Entry to the Kingdom demands repentance
This passage could be divided into two parts. The first section (7,21-23), addresses a problem to a group that says one thing but really does something quite different. The second (7,24-29), serves as a conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount (5,1-7,27) that employs binary: two foundations, two builders, two responses to Jesus’ teaching, and two destinies. Jesus followers are to be wise and hear and obey Jesus’ words. In the first section, Jesus offers an example for a true disciple to enter his kingdom, in which true faith is more needed than one’s successful ministry (7,22-23). Today there are many false believers who do mighty works in Jesus’ name – prophesy, cast out demons, and perform powerful deeds, just like Pharaoh’s sorcerers who mimicked Moses. Certainly Jesus empowered his disciples, including Judas, to preach the good news, cast out demons, and perform miracles (Mt 10,1-8). Judas performed these works and yet he did not gain God’s kingdom. Jesus said Judas didn’t believe in him (Jn 6,64) and called him a devil (Jn 6,70-71). Similarly, God anointed Balaam, a prophet of Baal, to bless Israel and prophesy about the coming messiah (Num 23). Caiaphas, the high priest who helped to put Jesus to death, also prophesied about God’s plan (Jn 11,51-52). It must be remembered that mere charismatic elements aren’t proof to gain one’s salvation. God can empower a donkey to speak for him (Num 22). Jesus said that if others don’t speak for God, even the rocks will cry out (Lk 19,40). Therefore, fruitful pastoral ministries are not proof of salvation. Instead, acknowledgement of God demands a life of repentance – turning away from sin and an abiding relationship with the Lord (7,23).