“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord.’”
Every Advent, the Church, out of her great love and wisdom, invites us to consider our last end. So it is in this passage and the context preceding it that Jesus seems to be seeking to shake us up a bit.
Who are we? He points out that we do good works in His name, we cast out demons in His name, we claim Him as our Lord and yet, when we come to our last judgment we hear, “I never knew you.” The result is catastrophic – eternal hell.
How is it that we can do good and claim His name and not be known by Him?
The answer is simple, some do good and make these claims because it makes them feel good. Instead of an authentic self-giving embrace of Jesus Himself, we are embracing our own self-righteousness. Instead of building our house on the rock Himself, we build it on the sand of our own self-sufficiency.
The authentic lover does not love because of how it makes them feel. The authentic lover loves the other as other. This is a love that is self-giving without concern for reward.
This total self giving is what is required of us as we respond to and prepare our hearts for the coming King.
Are you religious because it makes you feel good or because you cannot live without God as you savior? Do you claim and do good works in the name of Christ because of how it makes you feel? Do you expect something in return – appreciation? – good feelings? – notoriety? – recompense? – adulation?
He gave everything for you. He brought you in to existence for a loving relationship with Him. He did this knowing that your sin would contribute to his suffering from His birth to His passion on the cross.
Now is the time – will you give a complete “yes” to Him and follow His call or will you hold back pieces of your life that will surely tether your soul to hell. Will you take up the cross and follow Him or will you only do what makes you feel good? If your answer is “yes,” and remains “yes” until the end of your life, you can be assured you will hear “well done” rather than “depart from me, I never knew you.”
—Dan Burke, the Avila Institute