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Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

James 2:14-24, 26 & Mk. 8:34-39

We are not saved by our own power any more than a baby is conceived in the womb by his own power. A baby is conceived by his parents, and we are saved by God our Father. Salvation, becoming children of God, is God's work not our own.

When a child begins to grow up, it is natural for him to respond in love to his parents. In the same way through faith we are expected to respond to God in love by doing His will. It is in this sense that St. James says that faith which does nothing in practice is thoroughly lifeless. Believing in God demands that we respond to God.

Jesus says the same thing in the Gospel. He declares that if anyone wishes to follow Him, must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow in His steps. Crying out, “Lord, Lord," is not what Jesus wants. He desires not mere words, but actions.

Here in the Mass we use many words in addressing God in our prayers. What we say in words must flow into our lives. We tell God in the Lord's Prayer that we want His will to be done. So we are the ones who must seek to do His will here on earth as His will is done in heaven. We may pray in our Bidding Prayers for the homeless or the starving, but if we do nothing practical to help
them our prayers are empty words. Again, we pray for world peace, but can it be said that our homes are a battleground? We have to work for peace within ourselves first. Only when our words are wedded to our actions, are we faithful children in whom the Father is well pleased.

Lord Jesus may we be people who back up our words with actions.

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