Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time, October 17
May God Give to Each of Us the Wisdom and Understanding to Know and Follow His Will in Our Life, Enabling Us to Have the Courage to Live our Individual Walks of Faith Accordingly.
We hear a phrase in today’s First Reading which has caused much confusion between Christians of different faith persuasions over the centuries, when Paul writes, “For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
This issue has been around for centuries – faith vs. good works. Saint James, in his Epistle, speaks of good works; Saint Paul is speaking today of faith. The answer to this quandary lies in understanding the mind of Paul and the Christian community in Rome to whom he was writing.
The antiphon to today’s Responsorial Psalm reminds us of what our faith has been teaching us since we were small children – that we are saved through the gracious Mercy of God, “With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.”
And Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, tells us today that not by our own doing do we gain salvation, but rather by “…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ…”
Yet, Paul draws a distinction between obeying the “law” as it were, and being filled with faith in the One who saves. Blindly obeying the letter of the law, and boasting of one’s faithfulness to its letter, was the downfall of many of the Jewish leaders, as well as the scribes and Pharisee’s of Jesus’ day.
When one fails to open his or her heart and embrace the true meaning behind what God has set before us – what He is asking of us – then our actions become as a barrier to God’s gift of salvation. As Paul writes, “What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith”
And sadly, this is where the leaders of the Jewish people failed. They not only lost sight of their own faith and the Divine Truth which stood before them, but also through their own blindness – together with their pride and jealousy – they caused many others to be led astray.
As Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, “Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
As faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we ourselves have nothing to boast about, for there is nothing that we can do ourselves that will guarantee our own salvation. What counts before God is accepting all that His Divine Son has freely done for us, and trusting unreservedly in the salvation which He has earned for each and every one of us through His Passion and Death on the Cross.
Saint Paul makes the salvific action of Jesus Christ very clear in our First Reading today, when he writes, “…there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his Blood…”
In our journey through life and in the faith which we profess, are you and I able to open the eyes and the ears of our hearts and souls to that which is miraculous, but unseen – to that which is Divine, but invisible to the mind and the eye?
Faith is a most wondrous gift, freely given by God to those whom He chooses. But how we respond to that gift is determined by our use of the gift of free will. We can either choose to turn our backs on God’s gift of faith, or we can choose to pick it up, unwrap this most precious gift and embrace it for all its worth!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that faith is a theological virtue by which we not only believe in God, but that we also believe all that He has said and revealed to us. Being open to the gift of faith allows us to experience, in a very unique way, the unfathomable Love which God has for each of His children.
As followers, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are each called to give witness to our faith. We are each called to recognize Jesus in all those whom we meet; we are each called to imitate Jesus to each other. And we are each called to embrace and live all of His Truth, not just those elements we like or which we find agreeable.
For this is what it means to truly believe! This is what it means to truly love! This is what it means to truly be holy and to prayerfully enjoy the reward which awaits each of us!
As we grow and mature, we begin to realize that the greatest things in life are truly gifts, not achievements of our own – the life we have been given, our eternal soul which is a part of us, the love we feel and live in our hearts, and the faith which we profess.
Our Lord and Savior is truly the “Wisdom of God” and Source of everlasting life. Only the humble of heart – those who thirst for God and acknowledge His Word as true – can truly understand and accept the Truth which our faith teaches us.
May the Truth of Jesus Christ take root within our hearts and transform each of our thoughts and actions. And may God give to each of us the wisdom and understanding to know and follow His will in our life, enabling us to have the courage to live our individual walks of faith accordingly. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
- “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Romans 3:21a, 22a)
- “What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith.” (Romans 3:27)
- “For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his Blood…” (Romans 3:22b-25a)
- “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
- “Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” (Luke 11:52)
- “If you, LORD, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered…For with the Lord is mercy, with him is plenteous redemption.” (Psalm 130:3-4, 7b)
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven!” (Matthew 7:21)
- “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14)
- “If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
- “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen…without faith, it is impossible to please [God], for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, Most Merciful Savior,
You are the sure and certain Foundation
and Source of life and strength for us, Your children.
“Please grant me the wisdom and grace
to live each day of my life according to Your Truth
and in conformity with Your Divine will.
“Strengthen me so that I may reject every lie and falsehood
which I may find in the seductions of today’s world.
Grant me the grace to actively live Your Word daily,
and not just become a passive listener only.
“This I humbly ask out of love and faith in Your Most Holy Name,
You who live and reign with our Heavenly Father
and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.”Anonymous