Speak Lord: Make us useful and true

Jacapo Bassano. The Good Samaritan. (c) National Gallery, London.

Jacapo Bassano. The Good Samaritan. (c) National Gallery, London.

The second reading on Sunday, the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, will continue our Sunday reading of the Letter of James.

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats’; then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?

Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him.

James 2:1-5

St James continues, in this section of his letter, the reflection we heard the beginning of last week, a reflection on the relationship between faith and what we might call ‘real life’. St James, of course, would call the life of faith ‘real life’ , for it is that new, deep and entirely real way of life that faith introduces us to, and indeed that faith obliges us to.

He focuses on some contradictions between common life and the good life, the life of faith.

We may well be conscious of others.

  • What are the contradictions that feature in your life – perhaps that you struggle with, perhaps that you have become used to and no longer really notice?
  • What helps you to seek to live more faithfully and lovingly?

In the picture above the the Samaritan, whom we call good, becomes the chair for the victim of violence and theft.

  • At what cost do we serve those most in need?
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