Liturgical Colour : Green
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to reflect on our lives and on our attitudes towards our faith. Have we seen our faith as something that needs just to be there as a belief? Or have we seen it as something that constantly need to be kept alive by active contributions and works? That was what St. James in his letter in today’s first reading tried to tell us about the faith.
Our faith cannot be dormant or be based on mere words or letters of the word. Our faith must be supported with a strong foundation, that is the foundation of love and devotion to God. And in order to do that, we have to act, and be active in love. Remember what Christ had told us? That we ought to love one another, especially those who are least and weakest in our societies?
St. James was particularly condemned and shunned by the Protestant heretics, who held firm to their false and twisted idea of sola fide and sola scriptura, that is the firm belief that only the Holy Scriptures is correct and the only thing to be followed, and more importantly, sola fide, that means faith is sufficient, certainly by literal understanding of the words of Christ, when He said to some, that their faith had saved them.
Yet, they had truly missed the point by their extremely literal understanding of the true meaning of God’s message. Faith is important, and indeed we have to put our complete faith and belief in the Lord, but faith cannot be merely that, meaning just faith. We do not have true and living faith if we just merely say, Lord, Lord, I believe in You, and keep ourselves to reading the Holy Bible all day long without action.
Action, that is action based in love, is an integral part of our faith, and therefore, an integral part of our salvation in Jesus. We cannot separate action of love from faith in love itself, for God Himself is Love, and Jesus is the embodiment of that Love. God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, that all who believe in Him will not die, but receive eternal life.
Faith is important, but can we believe in Love, that is the love of God, if we ourselves do not practice love in our words, deeds and actions? If our actions are instead based on hatred, prejudice, jealousy, and many other negative influences, then are we not contradicting our own faith in the Lord? And does that not mean that we have actually no faith in God?
That is precisely why the path of those who believed in salvation by faith alone is wrong, because many of them in their blind zeal to prove and fight for their version of the faith, they sowed much hatred, prejudice, and jealousy among themselves against the truth that is in God and in His Church. But again, they are not the only ones that are in the wrong, because we ourselves too often do not truly follow what the Lord wants from us.
We are often ignorant of our own faith, and we treat our faith as nothing more than a profession of the Creed and attendance at the Mass every Sundays. We do not truly practice our faith, and in our own daily habits and activities, we often do not reflect the love of God. This ignorance of our faith is something that we have to avoid at all cost, for again, I would like to remind you that this kind of faith is dead, and will do us no good before God.
Practice our faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, and put love in all of our words, actions and deeds. Put what the Lord had revealed and taught to us into real action. As Jesus had said, let all of us love one another, all of our brothers and sisters, children of the same God just as much as we care and love for ourselves. And of course, love God with all of our hearts and our strength.
But loving God does not mean for us to keep ourselves enclosed in our own world of desire for salvation, for doing that will mean selfishness. Loving God can be much more concretely professed, by following what He told us! Yes, that is to love our brethren, especially those who are the last, the lost, and the least. And Jesus Himself said that whatever we had done for them, we did them for God.
Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we heed what St. James had called us to do, and indeed challenged us to do? Shall we change our perspective on our own faith in God? Shall we from now on make our faith in God truly vibrant and alive? We have to make our faith in God concrete through actions, and that is actions based on love.
May our Lord Jesus Christ guide us and bless us with wisdom and understanding, that we may realise how important it is to love, and how crucial it is towards our salvation. May God continue to be with us and walk with us, that we may continue to love Him and devote ourselves to Him with full, living faith. God bless us all. Amen.