Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (September 16, 2018): Faith that works

Thứ Bảy, 15-09-2018 | 17:49:56

Today’s Readings:Isaiah 50:5-9a
Ps 116:1-6, 8-9
James 2:14-18
Mark 8:27-35

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. 
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?” 
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.” 
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?” 
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.” 
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days. 
He spoke this openly. 
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. 
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

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. 
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.”

Good News Reflection: Faith that works

This Sunday’s second reading defines the doctrine of faith and works.

Works without faith, no matter how good the works are, don’t get us into heaven. Some of us try to earn our way into God’s heart by serving in church activities, saying all the “right” prayers, and so on. This idea comes from our childhood when we learned: “If I’m good enough, Mom and Dad will reward me” and “If I do well in school, the teacher will give me a gold star” or smiley face or whatever it is they paste on homework today.

The problem is, we can never be good enough for heaven. This is why Jesus came to earth and took our sins to the cross.

Faith without works isn’t going to get us into heaven, either. Here’s why:

Faith in Jesus starts with believing that, in his love for us, he died for us and rose again so that we’ll have eternal life. This is what opens the door to heaven. However, to walk through that door, we have to follow Jesus. This requires doing more than believing in his death and resurrection; we also believe in his life — how he lived his life. Following Jesus affects our lifestyles and our day-to-day behavior. How Christ-like is it?

The proof that we truly do have faith is evidenced in the good works that we do. Faith in Jesus means we love him so much that we love all those whom he loves, which is EVERYone regardless of whether they deserve it or not.

And faith in Jesus means we trust him so much that we do whatever he tells us — imitating him in all of our activities, adopting his attitudes, and responding to his calling to serve as priests, religious, and lay ministers, even when it seems risky or illogical.

Thus, when Jesus says to us in the Gospel reading, “Who do you say that I am?” we answer that he is our Savior who takes us to heaven, and he is our Lord who teaches us how to live, and he is our Lover who empowers us to love others even when it becomes a cross to bear.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
Is Jesus Christ truly your Lord and Savior? Do you believe that he suffered and died on your behalf so that you could reach heaven? Are you doing good works because you adore him so much that you want to go where he goes and do what he does and serve as his hands and feet and voice wherever he leads you?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How does your life convey to others that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? If you wore no Christian jewelry and spoke no words, how would you tell others who Jesus is?

Today’s Prayer:

My Lord, give me the grace of discovering the endless treasure that You are. I want to learn to see my life through You. I accept You and receive Your reign in me. Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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