READINGS for 2006-02-17
PREACHING BY WORKS
?Brothers, what good is it to profess faith without showing works??? James 2:14
After less than two years as a parish priest, Fr. Nick had been able to start BEC?s (Basic Ecclesial Community) in three quatters areas which have a strong social service for the poor. When there was a fire in one area, Fr. Nick sought donations in cash or kind from the more affluent subdivisions of his parish, to help the victims rise from their loss. He wrote letters to authorities in charge to help the squatters with their light and water problem and the families of the dead having problems with funeral expenses or death certificates. He organized the lawyers of the parish to start a free legal assistance for the poor. He revived the free medical and dental clinic, and a project in the making will give livelihood through candle-making. I can sight only some of what he?s doing because I have limited space here. But I think I?ve cited enough to tell you that this priest is trying his best to preach by works. And as one who is in touch with the people he helped, I believe that this priest was able to get the Gospel message across. Cristy G.
Equip Your ministers, Lord Jesus, with a sensitive and responsive heart for their flock so that You can build Your church through them.
Faith is not just some sort of intellectual assent to a set of beliefs. It is a lived reality that includes every aspect of our lives. This is why James affirms that without works, faith is dead! If we want to know whether or not we have a vibrant and living faith, we should ask ourselves, ?Is my life rich in good works? Am I giving myself in the service of my brothers and sisters around me?? If we cannot answer these questions in the affirmative then perhaps we need to look at how we can practically live out the demands of our faith.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, 16 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? 17 So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 Indeed someone might say, ?You have faith and I have works.? Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.? 19 You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. 20 Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ?Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,? and he was called ?the friend of God.? 24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 26 For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
P S A L M
Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R: Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord?s commands.
1 Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands. 2 His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed. (R) 3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever. 4 Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just. (R) 5 Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; 6 he shall never be moved; the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance. (R)
G O S P E L
It is unlikely that any of us would say that we are ashamed of believing in Jesus, however, our actions may say otherwise. Are we willing to always stand up for the truth and what is right and just no matter what the cost may be? How often do we compromise a little on our beliefs in order to become more acceptable to others? The challenge for us is to be unyielding in our witness to the Gospel way of life. This is rarely easy!
34 He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, ?Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. 36 What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 37 What could one give in exchange for his life? 38 Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father?s glory with the holy angels.? 9: 1 He also said to them, ?Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.?
God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________
thank You Lord for: ______________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Deuteronomy 13-15
WILL SHE KNOW WHY?
How is your faith?
St. James today gives us the vital signs for faith in the Lord: good works.We may be going to Mass every day, there may not be a day that passes without us praying the Rosary, we may have memorized the Bible, but our spiritual life has the stench of the grave unless we put love into action. Faith alone therefore does not save us. While we are fully aware that salvation is sheer gift from God, we cannot be saved by merely praying alone. We must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, etc.
When we do good works, not seldom do we encounter criticism and persecution. A Filipino saying goes, ?Ang punong mabunga ay binabato.? Indeed, only trees heavy with fruit are stoned by those who either envy the tree or crave its fruits.
Anyone who wishes to follow Jesus must renounce self, take up the cross and follow Him. Good works often demand dying to one?s self so that others may live. Jesus Himself is the best example of what He requires from His disciples.
Is your faith alive or dead?
Having dead followers amounts to nothing, unless they are dead on account of the faith and, therefore, are martyrs. Jesus needs disciples who are living witnesses to His presence. You are either a useless dead Christian or a Christian who dies each day and yet paradoxically remains alive as a source of life for the many.
I heard this story about a pious woman who owned a stall in the market. One evening she asked her househelp, ?Inday, na turukan mo na ba ng formalin ang mga isda?
Funny? No, sad. We should bury Se?ora. Will she know why? Fr. Bobby T.
Teach me to live, Lord.
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