Reflection: Sunday 5th September and for the week ahead:
‘My brothers, what use is it for a man to have faith and to have no deeds to show for it? Are you going to claim that his faith can save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear, and not enough to eat, and one of you says to them ‘Go in peace! Keep warm and eat well!’ and yet does nothing to provide for his physical needs, what use is that?’ (James 2.14-16)
The theme of caring for the needy is one that runs right through the Bible. In the Law and the Prophets, the Psalms and Writings of the Hebrew Scriptures, and throughout the New Testament, we are constantly reminded that loving God and loving our ‘neighbour’ are two sides of one coin.
James points out how easy it is to say kind words that cost us nothing, while claiming to have ‘faith’. Genuine faith is seen not in polite platitudes or words of sympathy , but in action, in working to understand the need and to address it.
Faith without works, says James elsewhere, is dead.
We cannot pretend not to know of anybody in need, whether near or far away, whom we can help.
So what are we, as people of faith, to do about it?