Daily Reading: 04 Aug – The Apostles’ Teaching: Faith and Works – James 1:1-2:26

Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

E100:19.d – The Apostles’ Teaching

Faith and Works – James 1:1-2:26 (NLT)

Greetings from James

James 1  This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad.

Greetings!

Faith and Endurance

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Trials

9 Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Listening and Doing

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

Listen and remember

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

A Warning against Prejudice

James 2  My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?

2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

poor Christians

5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?

8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

Do Something

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
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My Prayer

Dear God,

I offer you all of me and my family.

  • Please continue changing and renewing my mind and heart to believe in, have faith in, trust in, and know you more deeply and intimately.
  • Please work through and show your love through me to my wife and others.
  • Please help my mind and words reflect your character.
  • Please reveal yourself to me more, so I can be always overwhelmed by your glory.

Build my faith. Asking this both scares and excites me.

  • Please give me wisdom for leading my family towards you. You are both the destination and the journey.
  • Help me cherish you more.
  • Cultivate a heart of thankfulness, joy, and humility in me.

Fan my flame of passion for serving you / others / your church… for making disciples… and for glorifying you in my actions and thoughts.

  • Only by, through, and in connection with (through submission) your gift of the the Spirit is this possible.
  • Please grow my desire to seek and serve the helpless.
  • Please help me be more sensitive to the Spirit throughout the day.
  • Help me get over myself.

I come to you only through the sacrifice of Christ, and pray these things in His precious name.

  • Thank you for you.
  • You are amazing.

Amen
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“Love God. Connect to Others. Serve Well”

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Closing Sentence

The Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Sunday: 30 August – Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; Psalm 15:2-5; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 ~ what’s in your heart?

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence and Prayer:

Praise God: You sustain us all year round. We ask for help with new undertakings and perseverance with continuing projects, knowing that nothing will work well without God’s grace.
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Father of light, giver of every good and perfect gift, bring to fruition the word of truth sown in our hearts by Your Son, that we may rightly understand Your commandments, live Your law of love, and so offer You worship that is pure and undefiled. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
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Hymn: Come Christians Join to Sing

Come, Christians, join to sing, Loud praise to Christ our King;
Let all, with heart and voice, Before His throne rejoice;
Alleluia! Amen! Alleluia! Amen!

Come, lift your hearts on high, Let praises fill the sky;
He is our Guide and Friend; To us He’ll condescend;
Alleluia! Amen! Alleluia! Amen!

Praise yet our Christ again, Life shall not end the strain;
On heaven’s blissful shore, His goodness we’ll adore,
Alleluia! Amen! Alleluia! Amen!
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A Reading from the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8 (NLT)
[Moses tells the people of Israel to keep faithful to God’s law.]

“And now, Israel, listen carefully to these decrees and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you.”
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brain beanie
Brain Beanie: Show them how smart you are.

“Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’ For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today?”
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 15:2-5 (NLT)

Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.

Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.

Such people will stand firm forever.
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“Who may ascend to the Hill of the Lord”


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A Reading from the Letters: James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27 (NLT)
[Living by faith is explained in a simple, down-to-earth way.

Poetry of heaven: Nasa has released an image of the 'light echo' produced by the glare from a star that was, for one brief shining moment, the brightest in the night sky
Poetry of heaven: Nasa has released an image of the ‘light echo’ produced by the glare from a star that was, for one brief shining moment, the brightest in the night sky

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
_____

Humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
_____

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
__________

A Reading from the Gospels: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 (NLT)
[Jesus reminds the religious leaders that what’s on the inside of people is more important than externals.]

One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to — such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)

So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
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What's in your heart?
What’s in your heart?

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
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For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
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Father of Lights


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Intercessions:

Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence. Lord, hear the deep longings of our hearts.

+ For those in leadership positions in the Church – that they may avoid the condemnations heaped by Jesus on the religious leaders of his day…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all who are part of the Christian family – that they may show their faith by coming to the aid of the poor…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who lack food, clothing and shelter, at home and abroad – that the help they receive may always respect their human dignity…. Lord, hear us.
+ For our Christian communities, as parish activities resume after the summer break – that God’s Word and Spirit may guide us, as we make a new start together…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the faithful departed, especially those who died in Christ through violence and warfare – that the dead may live in the presence of the Lord…. Lord, hear us.

God our creator, Your love for Your people has no end: hear our prayers and give us Your supporting grace, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

Benediction:

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen