Faith Formed by Love 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)
Isaiah 50:5-9 Psalm 116 James 2:14-18 Mark 8:27-35
The second reading from James teaches that “faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” In verse 19, James adds, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.”
With these words, James is clearly teaching, comments Pitre, that right belief “will not save.”In other words, correct knowledge I have about the faith will not save me, since if faith is not formed by love, by divine love, it is empty.
Often right belief is identified with orthodoxy. However, as a pope has pointed out “originally the word ‘orthodoxy’ did not mean” “right doctrine.” This is because, although the Greek word word doxa means, “opinion or splendor” when used in a Christian context it means right splendor, or “true splendor” by glorifying God in adoration, in worship.
Being orthodox as a Catholic, therefore, means more than thinking the right doctrine and believing in the right doctrine. Being orthodox as a Catholic means praising, and glorifying God in a true way and not in a false way.
A false way of worshipping God is praying and celebrating beautiful liturgies while being unjust and lacking in kindness and mercy to our brothers and sisters.
A true way of worshipping God is praying and celebrating beautiful liturgies and allowing God who we encounter through our prayers and worship to form our hearts with His divine love so that we love our brothers and sisters more and more even to the point of being willing to lay down our lives for them, even those who dislike us since this is how Jesus loved.
A true way of worshipping God of being orthodox as a Catholic means worshipping God not just with part of ourselves, not just with our minds, but with our whole selves with our intellects, emotions, wills, and hands and feet all placed at the service of loving our brothers and sisters, for loving our brothers and sisters who we can see demonstrates that we actually love God who we cannot see (1 John 4:20).
An Eastern fable that well illustrates the important of worshiping God with our whole selves and not just part of ourselves is about a man who dies and goes to heaven. In heaven he sees many shelves with thousands upon thousands of tongues and brains laid upon them. The man asked, “Why are there so many tongues and brains on the shelves?” The response was, “Because these tongues and these brains said and thought beautiful words to and about God.” Then the man asked, “but where are the people who said and thought these things?” “Oh,” was the response “they are not in heaven since they only said and thought beautiful words to and about God but did nothing else.”
Today, may we not only say and think beautiful, true words about you but also do something else by loving someone a little more today according to the truth of Jesus Christ.
Blessings – Fr Peter
Xin Vâng Mi Trâm: Following the Footsteps of Mary
Brant Pitre, “The Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B),” catholicproductions.com.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, trans. John Saward (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000), 159-160; Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, trans. H. Taylor (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 126.
 Brant Pitre, “The Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B),” catholicproductions.com.
 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, trans. John Saward (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000), 159-160; Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, trans. H. Taylor (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 126.