(Part 48)


June 26, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 7:21-29

What Jesus says today about the true disciple is challenging and problematic. Here were people who called him “Lord, Lord,” who prophesied, drove out demons and did mighty deeds in his name (v.21-22), but Jesus rejected them (v.23). What are we to make of that?

Well, they were disciples who performed healing and exorcism but who lived evil lives. They were like the scribes and Pharisees who spoke well and looked good but who were hypocrites. This tells us that we can witness to Jesus and go on mission for Jesus (and actually accomplish wondrous things), but if we are not becoming holy, then it is all for naught. We are called to be saints, martyrs and warriors, and it is one package, one call, one fulfillment of what it means to be a true Christian and disciple.

The crowds were astonished at Jesus’ teaching, “for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” (v.29). The scribes, together with the other elders of Israel, actually were in authority. They taught what was in the law. But they did not live the law. They preached but did not practice.

Such can happen to servant leaders.

Giving a great talk but not walking the talk.
Going on mission but neglecting the family.
Relating in friendly and loving ways to others but harboring deep grudges and resentments against them.
Serving as leaders in the community but not fully supporting its mission and directions.
Such disciples and servant leaders know the right words, seem to be attentive in listening to teachings and formation inputs, but does not act on them. Jesus calls such a person “a fool who built his house on sand.” (v.26).

Who then is the wise man who builds his house on rock? The Rock is Jesus. He is the only foundation. It is Jesus we witness to. It is Jesus in whose name we go on mission. And it is Jesus whom we imitate in holiness. If we live as such, then we can face all the challenges and trials in the Christian life and mission. “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.” (v.25).

To be fully accepted by Jesus, to have our foundation set on the Rock that is Jesus, to be able to teach with the authority of Jesus, to be truly empowered to witness, we must be saints, martyrs and warriors.

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