What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone 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 senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
Today is Friday the 21 February, in the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time.
The monks of Glenstal Abbey sing Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est. Wherever love is true, God is there. A chant which expresses the presence of God in every act of goodness, or kindness, of love.
Today’s reading is from the Letter of James.
For some people, this passage makes a theological point – almost an academic point – about “faith” and “works” and “salvation”. But for others, it’s saying something very down-to-earth about how we live our everyday lives. How do you hear it?
What connection do you see, or feel, between your faith and what you do, the way you live your life – the help, perhaps, that you give to people who need it?
As you hear these words again, notice how Abraham is mentioned. Think about what his love for God must have been like, that made him ready to sacrifice his own son, the symbol of everything God had promised him.
Talk to God about your friendship with him and perhaps how you would like to express this friendship in the way you live your life, in your “works”, in the way you behave towards others.