Some seem to think that just being a nice person is enough and because God loves everyone, we are all going to heaven.
Some Christians will tell you that faith alone will do it.
But in a variety of places, as in today’s gospel, we find another formula:
My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.
Two simple verbs:to hear and to act.
Professing faith is a great start, but that’s all it is, the beginning. If we wish to be counted among the brothers and sisters of Jesus, we must both hear His Word and do it.
Where does the system break down? It doesn’t appear to be the hearing. Many Christians have heard the Word until we can recite it from memory. Some can quote chapter and verse. The problem does not seem to be primarily in the hear.
The center of the problem seems to be in the process where we convert what we have heard into action. What is the blockage?
Temptation and our own enternal passions play a role for certain and we cannot ignore the role of Satan in the world.
But as problematic is the fact that we humans are social by nature. This is, in general, a good thing. It’s what makes society possible. But it also has a downside.
We want to fit in. We want to succeed. We want the approval of our superiors. We fear disappointing our loved ones, or the negative consequences of crossing the boss. And so we conform,;we go along. We forget the adage that “silence gives consent.”
Today’s gospel reminds us that on our last day each of us will be judged on, not only how much of the Word we have heard, but on whether or not we have converted the Word into action. Jesus gave his life. How much are we willing to give.