We all have gone to a funeral home and viewed the body of a loved one or friend. They are lifeless, their spirit has departed. In today’s first reading, James makes it clear that faith without good works is not really living. Bodies which don’t breathe are dead. The spiritual implications are clear; works-less faith is not a viable spiritual life. Good works can take many forms. James emphasizes love of neighbor and oneself which includes meeting each other’s physical needs especially the poor. What good deed might I do today to enliven my faith to all I meet? (Bible Ref https://www.bibleref.com/James/2/James-2-26.html)
In Psalm 112, the psalmist calls us to praise God and to give God the glory for any good we have experienced. “Well for the person who is gracious and lends and who conducts his affairs with justice…Blessed is the person who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.” How often am I grateful and daily praise God? (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Psalm 112 https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/112.html)
In Mark’s gospel we are challenged: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”(Mark 8:34) Lord, help me to carry my crosses in life and follow you living in your service. (Living with Christ, February 2020, Today’s Good News: February 21, 2020 Mary Marrocco, p. 161.)
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.