Pastor's Blog - August 29, 2021

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Take the word "faith." If you Google it or look it up in the dictionary, it is labeled a noun.  But today’s Scripture readings suggest that faith can also be a verb – a word jam packed with action, with showing by our decisions and behavior what exactly we believe to be true.

When Moses reiterates the Ten Commandments and summarized God’s expectations for holy, upright living, he was urging the people to put their faith into practice, to regard faith as a verb, a call to action.  In the passage we heard today, James drives home the point that a faith that does nothing in practice is as dead as a doornail.  True faith issues in good works that flow freely from our relationship with Jesus Christ… and so James says bluntly to us: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, which is delusional.”  Jesus taught that a person’s life of faith has everything to do with how a person chooses to practice faith in the course of their life.  And so, holding tightly all the truths of our Catholic faith, observing every ritual of our Church to the letter; these have their importance but for Jesus they pale in comparison to living out that faith every day.  But then again, in the spiritual life, faith functions as a verb!

If we are serious about being disciples of Jesus, our actions have to speak louder than our words.  A week from Monday is Labor Day… it is a fitting occasion to make a pact with the Lord and each other: that in the coming week we’ll put our faith to work.  Perhaps this week we can commit ourselves to show the world that faith is not just a noun – and it is surely not something that should be just theoretical and lifeless.  We’ll put our faith to work by trying to follow Jesus in the way of the cross: by trying to lift the burdens of others wherever possible, by striving to remember the forgotten in our lives, and by working on forgiving the one who offends us.  And so, with the help of the Eucharist, let’s get to work – and make sure our faith is not just a noun… but is also a verb!