Homily for Feb. 17, Friday of the VI week in OT, year II
If there’s one thing we can say for the epistle of James, it is that it the author is refreshingly clear and straightforward. The message of today’s first reading is about as clear as it gets: our faith is useless unless it shows itself in our actions. We could perhaps say that faith which doesn’t direct and guide our behavior isn’t real faith at all.
In the Gospel, Jesus says much the same thing in different words. If we wish to follow Christ, He says we have to be willing to be guided by our faith, even – or especially – when it is difficult. If we stand firm, He promises that we will be duly rewarded for our sacrifices and efforts. If, on the contrary, we abandon our principles in the search for an easier path in life, we will also pay the price.
This is not just abstract theory. Every day it seems we are confronted with stronger and stronger cultural trends that go fundamentally against the teachings of Christ – first and foremost, what John Paul II called the “culture of death”, which attempts to undermine the dignity and integrity of human life itself, through things like abortion and physician-assisted suicide. We need to take a courageous stand and do what is within our power to establish a culture of life and love, based on the fundamental and universally valid values at the root of Christ’s teaching.
May God grant us the faith, the wisdom, and the strength to take up our crosses to follow Christ. Even if we have to pass through Calvary, we know that heaven is waiting on the other side.