The Second Reading today is one of my favourites and a guide to how I choose to live. St. Ignatius must have loved it too as he believed faith and action went hand in hand. The letter to James about whether faith without works can save you is sometimes met with an argument about which of these is greater but it is clear to me that they are complementary. You cannot have faith and not serve and you must have faith of some kind to do good deeds.
During my illness, my friend and her family sent me cards every week to cheer me. I can tell you that I knew they were praying for me but the cards were a concrete gesture to say We are remembering you during your time of struggle and we love you as we hold you in prayer. I so appreciated that she found the time to do this even though her life was incredibly busy. She also sent an email almost nightly to let me know I was on her mind and heart.
I think that when we pray good things happen and when we act out of prayer, blessings abound. I am overwhelmed by the number of people who have said they would pray for me–and I do believe that prayer is one of the works that James has in mind, but to add to this an even more tangible action is a blessing to the one who receives it.
In some ways it shows us who we are–which is the Gospel question today: Who do people say that I am? We are children of God and sometimes that may mean that our actions are needed to bring about the kingdom, not just our prayers. We need to take up our cross and follow Jesus. This requires great faith and trust. Who do people say that you are? Is it clear that you are carrying your cross as you act on your faith?
What is your tendency–to have faith, to have works, or to combine the two?
What is a recent work that you did that showed your faith to the world?
You show us that to have faith
means bearing a cross and
Help me to share my faith
through action that points
the world to You.