God is at Work
Being prepared to accommodate others and to be open to alternative thoughts and behaviours is a core element of the contemporary experience. Increasingly, we make no comment on what people get up to in the privacy of their own homes or hearts, for the commandment that governs our society is that all are to be treated with tolerance.
In this atmosphere the difficult sayings of Jesus sit awkwardly. He seems to indicate that not everyone’s going to be included. For example: ‘not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven’ (cf. Matthew 7: 23 – 24). Apparently, some are excluded. Not very tolerant…
Or is it? Interestingly, here Jesus tells us that it is not what we believe that will save us; it is what we do. This presents us with a tremendous thought: there are those who ‘do the will of my Father in heaven’, who do not believe in God in the way that we do, and yet who are included in the embrace of God.
It is not Catholic teaching that only Catholics are saved. This hinges on the awareness that God’s creativity is not constrained by our limited perspective. God is at work in the lives of all human beings – it is this that the Church exists to announce. Those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked and so on, will make their way directly into his kingdom. This is a much more open perspective than many of us might have imagined.