Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 50:5-9; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35
“A Faith that Works”
At the end of every Mass, we are sent forth into the world and exhorted to “Go” – “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” We turn from the altar and move out to the street to be what we have received: Christ to and for others. We are urged each Sunday to live a faith that works. True faith is active and lived in the everyday through just acts and charitable works. A transformative encounter with Christ nourished by Word and Sacrament impels us to accompany those who are in need. We who have encountered Christ’s mercy and love are called to be that mercy and love for not only those in our inner circle but also for the stranger, the outsider, the refugee.
In the second reading of today’s Mass, James was obviously fed up with people in his community who talked the talk but never got around to walking the walk. James is comparing two different types of faith: authentic faith—a faith that works and empty faith which does not. Are we that different from the community of St. James? A Gallup study found that only 12 percent of those who attend worship on Sunday showed evidence that their faith had any significant effect on their daily living—in terms of cheating on income tax, infidelity in marriage, lying, pilferage in business and, a variety of other spiritual, moral, and ethical issues. In another study in the 1980s revealed that the more people went to church the greater chance they were in favor of the death penalty.
A faith that works is embodied by a Christian who is committed to being Christ’s hands and feet in the world. I conclude my reflection with a prayer by Mother Teresa, a woman who had a faith that worked.
“The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.”
Sr. Terry Rickard, OP