“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” ~ G.K. Chesterton.
Gospel text (Mk 8,34-9,1):
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
He also said to them,
"Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power."
Today’s gospel challenges us to walk the talk. It is not enough to say we are faithful, indeed, to even be faithful, without actions to accompany that faith. Many Catholics and other Christians thought they could work their way into heaven. They were dead wrong. We are not saved by our works, but by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). In addition, many people, including Catholics, thought they needed only to profess faith without practicing it (Jas 2:14). “I believe in Jesus, therefore I am saved“! They also were dead wrong, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17-26). "You must perceive that a person is justified by his works and not by faith alone" (Jas 2:24).
We are saved by grace alone — not faith alone or works alone. How are you responding to God's grace? Are you believing but not doing much with your faith? Or are you working a lot but believing very little? Are your faith and works integrated or separated?
Faith and works can't live without each other. They both live together or they both die. Therefore, strengthen your faith by working out your salvation (Phil 2:12). Enliven your works by obedient faith (Rm 1:5; 16:26). Jesus said: "This is the work of God: have faith in the One Whom He sent" (Jn 6:29).
Believe and work!