Homily for Friday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time Year II
Theme: Faith proves itself in good works
By: Rev Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Friday February 21 2020
READINGS: James 2: 14-24.26, Ps 112, Mark 8: 34-9:1
Jesus came to the earth and lived a pragmatic life. He did not become an island nor did he live an idle life. He was born in the carpenter’s house and he joined and proved that there is dignity in labour. This was why he said that His Father goes on working and so does he. He spoke through his apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians that anyone who refuses to work should not be allowed to eat. He admonished all to go on quietly working. Faith is a demonstration of believe in God and a showcasing of love. Love is not by words but is effective in good deeds. Faith shows itself in practical ways of love. A man of faith cannot be idle but goes on to work to improve the kingdom of God, wins souls and affect other individual and this is why work is important in faith. When Jesus came to the world, he moved on the streets of Palestine doing many good things and affecting the life of humans. His faith in God showed itself in good works. He did not preach without doing good works to transform the life of the people and win souls for his Father. He proved this to the Jews when they were beating him after trials intending to kill him. Jesus asked them: For which of my good works are you killing me? They recognized that he did great many good deeds and so they responded: We are not killing you for your good deeds but because you blasphemed.
Beloved, St James reminds us that our good deeds should be a more effective way of preaching than by mere verbal utterances. It is not our oratory and affluence that converts people but our good deeds. This is why a man said to the man of good deeds: Things you do are too loud that they do not allow me to hear what you are saying. A man of good faith and commitment is practical and lives in promotion of social practical gospel. He does more than speech. Faith prompts charity which is a practical demonstration of good works. This is why St James requests from us who profess faith in Christ Jesus to show our good deeds. This good deed is not mere generosity and philanthropy to show that you are wealthy. It is not giving out to the poor for the sake of impacting on the society. This good works must be propelled by faith in Christ Jesus for the sake of keeping the biblical charitable good works for the salvation of your soul. It is not doing something to win human admiration and for vainglory which produces praises from humans. Let the recommendations of the scripture be made practical in the way we live with others.
Beloved, it is this same recommendation of doing good works that Jesus spoke about in the gospel in a different form- carrying cross daily and following him. To carry cross implies an act of followership in deeds of sacrifice to show faithful commitment in Christ. It is the way of suffering something for the sake of this faith we have received. Jesus says that carrying the cross and dying while doing so will make your life saved but if you stay idle and out of the way of carrying the cross of faith in good deeds then you would lose your life at the end of this life’s journey. Better die doing good that living doing nothing. The act of renouncing self will and personal dictates is a carrying of the cross and denial of the self. This produces good works.
Beloved, let us pray that we shall have the grace to do practical good deeds as Christians and have the spiritual strength to carry our daily cross. I pray that we may have the courage to make some self denials so as to do the spiritual demands that would save our lives, Amen.
Rev Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf