“Man is saved by faith alone.” How many of you are familiar with that passage from the Bible? Actually, that’s a trick question. That statement is not in the Bible. Frequently one hears some Christians claim that St. Paul wrote that. St. Paul did write that “a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28). St. Paul did not write that we are saved by faith alone. On the other hand, St. James wrote: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). How do we reconcile these seemingly contradictory statements? They are brought together by the Catholic teaching that one is saved by the Grace of God, by faith working through charity. This is expressed in the Gospel for today’s Mass, in which Jesus gives His teaching on the judgment which takes place at the end of the world. When the King (Jesus) comes again, he will reward those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, etc. Authentic faith, then, is not divorced from charity in action (the corporal works of mercy). Both our faith and the ability to persevere in charity are gifts from God. That is what we mean when we say we are saved by God’s Grace. We should never see faith and works of charity as being opposed to each other. Ask God to strengthen your faith. And ask Him to help you persevere in doing good by acts of charity.
Next Sunday begins the season of Advent and a new liturgical year. On Friday, I mailed my Advent Pastoral letter to each parishioner, so you should receive it during this week. Along with this letter is included a calendar of parish liturgical events for Advent, including the Advent Penance schedule throughout the WI Rapids Deanery. In addition, you will find available a number of Advent resources in the Holy Family Cenacle. Please feel free to take one, or several, items for yourself and for friends or family members. Come, Lord Jesus!
May God bless you!