September 13, 2015
Today’s reading: James 2:14-18
We strive for holiness and we do massive evangelization. These are essential elements of our faith. But many who are in a similar situation lack one important element of an authentic life in Christ, and that is work with the poor. “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” (v.14a).
We put our faith in Jesus and strive to live according to the ways of Jesus, and we hope to make it to heaven, but if we do not have works, then James says, “Can that faith save him?” (v.14b). In fact, James says something truly radical and challenging. “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (v.17). If our faith is dead, we are not making it to heaven.
What works are we talking of? It is work with the poor, it is works of mercy, it is reaching out to and helping the least of our brethren. And it certainly is not just being sympathetic to the plight of those who are poor, but doing something concrete about it. “If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?” (v.15-16).
Now on the other hand, there are those who help the poor but exclude Christ. “Indeed someone might say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’” (v.18a). That also is not enough for a Christian. It is not just one or the other. For a Christian, it has to be both. James says, “Demonstrate your faith to me without works” (v.18b), meaning to say, as he has already said, that this is impossible to demonstrate, that faith without works is dead, that faith includes works, that such faith without works is not authentic faith at all.
On the other hand, James says, “I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.” (v.18c). The way we show authentic faith is when we also do works with the poor.
We in CFC-FFL, an authentic faith community, and in LCSC, a Church movement in response to the New Evangelization, do both spiritual and social works, both evangelization, spiritual renewal and work with the poor, both building the Church and building the Church of the Poor. This is done through the No One in Need (NONe) movement. Only in this way can our faith in Jesus be truly alive.
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