“As the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. ”
A reading from the Letter of Saint James (James 2:14-24.26)
What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 112: 1bc-2.3-4.5-6 (R. 1b)
R/. Blessed the man who takes great delight in the Lord’s commandments.
Blessed the man who fears the Lord,
who takes great delight in his commandments.
His descendants shall be powerful on earth;
the generation of the upright will be blest. R/.
Riches and wealth are in his house;
his justice stands firm forever.
A light rises in the darkness for the upright;
he is generous, merciful and just. R/.
It goes well for the man who deals generously and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
He will never be moved;
forever shall the just be remembered. R/.
ALLELUIA John 15:15b
Alleluia. I have called you friends, says the Lord, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. Alleluia.
“Whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 8:34-9:1)
At that time: Jesus called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would have his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Kwame Nkurumah once said, “Thought without action is lame and action without thought is blind”. In the same vein, faith without good works is dead. Belief in Jesus is not just a mind-set. It is a clear conviction with concrete commitment. Our faith must find expression in our good works just as our good works must draw inspiration and strength from our faith in Jesus. Little wonder, the standard for admittance to the kingdom of God on the day of judgement is not one’s credentials or baptismal certificates but the good works that we do (Mt 25:35-40). The same was true for Abraham our father in faith, the same is true for us who seek friendship with Jesus today.