Wednesday, May 1, 2019

“He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do. -St. Thomas Aquinas: (1225 – 1274: was an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church.)

Gospel Text: (JN 3:16-21)
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Many of our Protestant friends say that works are not necessary, and that by faith alone we are saved. But if you read the fullness of this most-beloved of Gospel selections, it’s clear the association between works and deeds. It’s true that we cannot “buy” our way into heaven with good deeds; rather, good deeds are a result of living a true, honest, considered life with Christ. And when we’re trying to form lives with Jesus, performing Christ-focused good works can develop the discipline and habits needed to live as free from sin as we can.

By all means, accept Christ in your heart! And know that through him salvation is possible. But it is in deeds that the light of Christ is brought into the world. As Pope Francis said on July 21, 2013, “In our Christian life . . . may prayer and action always be deeply united. A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother — the poor, the sick, those in need of help, a brother in difficulty — is a sterile and incomplete prayer.” So, then, may the truth of God’s love for the world spur us to joy, to hope for salvation for all, and — perhaps most importantly — to action.

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