Jesus is clear in his teaching on discipleship: Many who perform miracles and healings in his name will not enter the kingdom of heaven, for they are not living their lives according to his will and teachings. This reflects back to Matthew 7:15 and the warning about false teachers (prophets or followers) who pose as “sheep” but are really “ravenous wolves.” This passage forces me to reflect on my own discipleship: Am I truly a follower of Christ, or do I seek my own ambitions rather than seeking and serving the will of God?
Jesus came to love, serve others, and offer his life as a ransom for many. We, too, are to live lives of service and love. Many, however, who claim to follow Christ, both in first-century Palestine and today, fail to live a truly Christian life, one evidenced by our love for God and others. When we fail to have an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, seeking him in prayer, Scripture, Sacrament, and our outreach to others in love and forgiveness, we fail to enter the kingdom of heaven. We must, according to Christ’s example, live by giving our lives away. We can call Jesus “Lord” and can even go through the motions of our religious faith traditions, banking on our efforts to attend worship and pay lip service to the Christian faith. This does not, however, make us true disciples of Christ. Discipleship, as Jesus mentions earlier in Matthew 7:14, is the “narrow gate” and “constricted road.” Our hearts must be in it, and if they are not, then we must surrender ourselves to Christ and “ask, knock, seek” for the grace of conversion. Discipleship is “walking the walk” of Christian faith, following the example of our Master, Jesus Christ, giving ourselves away to God and neighbor in our little corners of the world.
Lord Jesus, I pray for the grace to not only listen and take in your teaching and loving example but to put it into practice in my vocation as husband, father, teacher, and neighbor.