All you need is love?

gate s“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ (Luke 13)

How could Jesus possibly say, “I don’t know you!”? Doesn’t scripture say:

js walkingBut now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43.1

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

How can Jesus say, I do not know you?

The word ‘know’

The word “know” is an old English word of Germanic origin. It means ‘recognize, or identify.”  In the OT, the Hebrew word for “know” is “yada.” Used in the ot more than 950 times, the word ‘know’ means much more than we use it in English. To ‘know’ is not to just have an intellectual knowledge but an experiential.

So what did Jesus mean “I do not know you?” He of course knows we exist, but has no experience of being with us.

OT example

Bethany 1An example of someone in the Old Testament who ‘knew’ God was King Josiah. The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words from God, addressing the son of King Josiah. The Lord said of Josiah:

“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?

From the scriptures, let’s look at how we can “know” God, so He in turn can “know” us:

  1. From the example of King Josiah, acting in justice and righteousness. Always mindful of the poor.
  2. To “know” is to realize the loss of children, or grief, guilt, conversion, and especially in relationships with others. See how all of these are part of our emotions? Our heart, not just head?
  3. Another way “to know” is used in the scriptures is when a person “knows’ a skill or ability, a talent. Such as hunting, sailings, playing the harp. Jesus would have “known” wood as a carpenter.
  4. Finally, the word is also a euphemism for sexual intimacy. What a wonderful expression of our relationship with God. Sexual intimacy has two purposes: unitive and life giving or procreative.

When we strive to know God and to be known by God through loving the poor, loving our family/friends, loving ourselves. Perhaps John Lennon of the Beatles was correct: All you need is love.

jesus feetFor if God is Love, as Saint John says, then to love is to know God, and to know God is to be loved.

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Peace.

Father Ken

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About SLCwichita

A premier retreat & conference center operated by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. We welcome you to this holy ground to rest, renew, restore & respond.
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