Dominica Infra Octavam Ssmi Corporis Christi (2nd Post Pent.)
Let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
These words of the Apostle St. John, which we heard in the Epistle, teach us as they
did the first Christians, a very important truth, one which has been denied much in the
last 500 years, ever since the Protestant Reformation and is still not clearly understood
by many Catholics, the result being that some Catholics have been eaten up, so to speak,
by Protestant missionaries and have fallen away from the one true Faith. The truth which
St. John is teaching us is that we are not saved by “faith alone,” but by faith and good
works. Faith and good works; faith and charity; faith and the living out of that faith.
When Martin Luther, in 1517, broke away from the Catholic Church, he posited the
erroneous theory that man is saved by faith alone—sola fide. He tried to use St. Paul’s
Letter to the Romans, chapter 3 verse 28 for proof, which speaks about the importance of
faith no doubt; but Luther himself added the word “alone,” so that the passage would
read, For we hold that a man is justified by faith alone apart from the works of the law.
He corrupted the text of Sacred Scripture to support his teaching which is totally un-
biblical and totally un-Christian.
The rest of that 3rd chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans clearly speaks against
those Jews at the time who thought that they could be saved simply by following the
Jewish ceremonial law. St. Paul is telling them that they need faith in Christ, that they
are not saved simply because they are Jews or simply because they practice the right
rituals. This is absolutely true, and no Catholic in his right mind would disagree. We are
not saved simply because we attend the Tridentine Mass every Sunday. We need a firm
and lively faith as well. But Paul certainly does not say that we do not need good works
also. In fact, in the 2nd chapter of his Letter to the Romans (verse13) , St. Paul says, It is
not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who
will be justified. The doers of the law.
Today’s Epistle echoes this teaching of St. Paul, which is the teaching of Christ.
For Christ Himself said, in Matt 7:21, Not everyone who says to Me,”Lord Lord,” shall
enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father. He who does the
will of My Father. Yes, faith is a gift from God. Yes, faith is necessary for salvation.
Yes, faith marks the beginning of our salvation. But, as St. John tells us, we must love in
deed and in truth. We must perform good works, which also are due to the grace and
mercy of God, but they are our works nonetheless.
This problem of people thinking that “faith alone” suffices must have been a problem
in the first years of Christianity, just as it is now. For, in addition to our Lord speaking of
the importance of good works, followed by St. Paul and St. John speaking of the
importance of good works, St. James also says that, a man is justified by works and not
by faith alone. But Luther threw that whole epistle out of his new version of the Bible,
saying that it was “nothing but straw.”
May God grant us the grace through this Holy Mass to have a firm faith and to
performs works worthy of the name Christian. May we, in the words of St. John, love not
in word and in speech, but in deed and in truth. Amen.