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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, March 6, 2011

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service


March 6, Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Deuteronomy 11:18, 26-28, 32

Psalm 31: 2-4, 17, 25

2) Romans 3:21-25, 28

Gospel: Matthew 7:21-27

It is interesting that Jesus uses the example of some so-called disciples who would claim to have done mighty deeds, prophesy and drive out demons in his name as those who will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The reason isn't that he is against such actions, but that these who are proclaiming their "mighty deeds" have not done the Father's will or obeyed Jesus' teachings.

We know that love of God and love of neighbor are the Father's will and the foundational stones of all of Jesus' teaching. So it is more than guessing to say that deeds falling outside that teaching, no matter what they are called, are the disobedience that Jesus is talking about.

Those who fail to heed that teaching, Jesus promises, will see the collapse of the "house" they've chosen to build on sand rather than on the rock of God's word.

In East Texas many years ago, a good friend of my family attended a funeral presided over by the pastor of a local charismatic church. A baby had died after much prayer for its healing, and now came the child's burial. At a critical point in the service, the pastor lifted the tiny frame from the casket and in an accusing tone said, "Look. This is lack of faith."

You have to wonder how many of the people present ever attended his -- or any other -- church again.

The story, as distressing as it is, is not a testimony against prayer for the sick, but shows what lack of obedience to the law of love looks like when clothed in spiritual pride.

One can well imagine that those who act in such a way would ultimately hear Jesus' reproach: "I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers."

Meanwhile, many others who have prayed earnestly (and often effectively) for the healing of others, acting in love, would receive Jesus' welcome and walk into his outstretched arms.

QUESTIONS:

Have you ever seen religious faith used to shame others? What can each of us do to assure that the sharing of our faith with others springs from genuine love?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock" (Matthew 7:24).

END



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