Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’, without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.
This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds – now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show.’
Second reading for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It is so easy to slip into selfishness and into neglect of others. Self-righteousness apes the righteousness that belongs to the just and truly faithful, but it exposes itself to ridicule.
And thank God for that: when hypocrisy exposed provides an opportunity for genuine conversion and a return to what is true.
- Where do you fear your life compromises your faith?
- What might other people question in your way of life
Dining in the Monastery. Vassily Perov. 1865. Russia Museum, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris