The WORD in Other Words by Fr Midas Tambot SVD (Philippines) for Thursday Week 1 in Advent
A follower of Jesus ought to speak, listen and act. Today‘s gospel highlights all three as essential. When we gather for Mass and worship we “speak.” In the words of the gospel. we say: “Lord, Lord.” During the Readings, we “listen” and allow the Lord‘s word to sink into our hearts. Speaking and listening are essential for our Christian worship and life.
However, Jesus reminds us today: unless our prayers and our listening to Scripture readings flow into action, their value is undermined. Only when they‘re turned into deeds will our lives be solidly grounded, like a house built on rock, and we can withstand the storms around us.
In today‘s Gospel, we encounter people who have prophesied, driven out demons, and worked miracles. But to them Jesus said, “I never knew you. Out of my sight!” Some people wrongly conclude from this that the gifts of the Spirit are not important. However, the message here is that we use our gifts to improve ourselves as Christians, serve others, and glorify God.
One day I met some acquaintances after the Mass and I noticed new faces among them. So, I commended them for having brought friends. But my joy was sort of half-baked when they said: “Father. we invited them because you are saying the mass.” With a smile, I said: “Let‘s just invite people to mass, nothing more, nothing less, okay?!”
Let‘s not be carried away by our gifts but remind ourselves that God gave them and should be used according to God‘s will. When our time comes, hopefully the Lord will say: “Welcome good and faithful servant” and not “go away… I don‘t know you!” As the Responsorial Psalm puts it: “For the glory of your name O Lord, deliver us…”