Isaiah 26:1-6; Ps 118 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord; Matthew 7:21,24-27
What you say! Come again! Hows that! Can you run that by me one more time!
These are familiar exclamations one may make toward another if they missed something that was said. It is an attempt to reposition oneself to hear better or to be more attentive.
But in the gospel Jesus says something a little different, "I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers."
These are the words of Jesus' rebuke to those who claim to know Christ with words but fail to live up to it in action.
"I never knew you. Depart from me" is a lot different then Come again! Hows that! Run that by me one more time!
Rather it is more like a "do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth."
What is intriguing is Jesus choice of words, "I never knew you."
The people are claiming knowledge of Jesus but Jesus claims no knowledge of them.
How do we allow Jesus to have knowledge of us? How do we give him permission to know us intimately so as to have access to our hearts and minds and thus be transformed in the process of being known?
It goes back to the first lines of today's gospel and even Isaiah hints at it in the first reading.
"Not every one 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."
What Jesus is speaking about is he whole will of the Father. We cannot pick and choose when to be a follower and when not be a follower. We can not just focus on the lofty things such as prophesying, driving out demons, mighty deeds but the little daily ordinary realities make up the bulk of our fidelity to the will of the Father in our life.
It is in the nitty gritty and the grind of living where the Father's will is realized by the life we live.
Words and deeds daily contribute to the bringing down and making present the will of the Father heaven.
The kingdom of heaven is more than just a place where we hope to live forever. It is the way we want to be forever. And we start that being here and now today.
We can not be lofty in our own estimation. As Isaiah points out, God will "humble those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down; he tumbles it to the ground, levels it with the dust. It is trampled underfoot by the needy, by the footsteps of the poor."
The poor trample it to the ground.
The poor seem to be a place we must begin to live the will of the Father.
Lady poverty calls us out and invites us to put our actions where our mouth is.
Christianity is never meant to be a living of comfort.
Poverty of spirit is necessary. Embracing the poor is necessary. Living the word unites the two together.
How often do we give but yet maintain our level of comfort?
Who are we serving when we do that?