Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Doers, not just hearers, of the Word

Today we are starting to get to the reason as far as why Martin Luther called the Letter of St. James the Epistle of Straw.

"Be doers of the Word and not just hearers only, deluding yourself."

For St. James, to hear the Word of God, to encounter Him in the kerygma, the proclamation, to know and love Him; all demands a response in kind. We cannot simply sit idly by as the world goes on, our faith must drive us forward. (I think of St. Paul: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!')

Our faith cannot stop at the doors of the Church, but must impel us forward in love of Christ and therefore in love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, whomever that is!

We also get a sense in the Gospel passage of something that is particularly Markan in scope: the Messianic Secret. How often over the last few weeks as we have journeyed with Jesus in Mark's account of the Gospel, we see how Jesus sends away those whom He has cured with strange instruction, such as today's 'Go straight home, do not go into the village.'

For St. Mark, there is an importance in having that one on one encounter with Christ and being changed by that encounter. Our witness to others might help that, but it is not an encounter with me that changes lives, but rather how we are able to lead others to a true encounter with Christ that can lead to lives being changed.

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