Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
6th Friday in Ordinary time, yr 2, February 18, 2022
Jas 2:14-24, 26; Ps 112:1-6; Mk 8:34-9:1
Jesus does not mince words today. If you are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of you. I cannot even imagine the humiliation one would have if even Jesus is ashamed of you. Make no mistake, He still loves you and wants you to come to Him, but it is a pretty stark message for those teetering in their faith. So how do we change Jesus’s attitude for us? Well for starters, do not be ashamed of Him. Do not be afraid to speak up when someone is making fun of Him. Or when someone is using His name in vain. Do we really need to be meek and vain when surrounded by people who constantly swear using God’s name in vain? Walk away, do not participate, or better yet, tell them you are offended by their language. What is the worst that can happen? Do they unfriend you? Well, if they do, they were never your friends to begin with. You may be shamed, or persecuted, but this is what Jesus is talking about when he says, “Deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Another way to put yourself out there is all the good works we do. As the first reading says, faith without works is dead. This argument has been debated for centuries. A good way to look at it is thinking about our faith and works this way; faith is love, pure and simple. And as anyone knows, if you love someone, you want to do things for them. So you do those things for them without asking for anything in return. Trying to love, without caring or doing something, is not love, it is actually selfishness. It is taking everything you can from someone without doing anything in return. Again, that is not love. So if you love someone, you want to do something for them. Faith, being love, is the same thing. If you have faith, you will naturally want to do something to fulfill that faith. And that something is works. Those things we do because we have faith. Faith begets love, which begets works, which begets love, which begets faith. A complete circle, completing and answering the question about faith and works.
Following Jesus is never easy, and Jesus calls us to a high standard. But, if we have faith in Him, we have love, and we love to do works of mercy in His name. One cannot be there without the other. These are the crosses we carry, the ones of faith and love. If we do, Jesus will never be ashamed of us. And that is all that matters.