faith without works? DEAD.

The Gospel antiphon today reads: “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).

Interestingly, I believe that Matthew 4:4 sums up Catholicism quite succinctly. I know that St. Matthew is saying that we are not sustained only on earthly bread. Rather, we are sustained by Our LORD Who comes to us in Communion in the form of Divine Bread, and that bread that we consume is not “just a symbol”: it is Our Savior! However, just as we cannot sustain our souls on earthly bread, so too can we not simply receive the Lord in the Eucharist (on mere physical terms) and believe that we will be sustained.

Holy Communion is not magical! For instance, if a lifelong sinner and non-believer receives Our Lord in the Eucharist while lying on his deathbed, this does not mean that he will automatically go to Heaven if he consumes Our Lord in the Eucharist! No, our love relationship with Our Lord is one that involves the body and the soul– and moreover, the heart.

Our Heavenly Bread is Jesus Himself; He comes into our bodies. Yet in order to let Jesus truly save us, we must cooperate with Him by also “[living] on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” What does this mean? We must not only receive Jesus in the Bread; we must also listen to His every word and act on His words, in love!

Jesus Christ IS the New Testament.”Testament” is a translation of the word “Covenant.” What is a covenant? A covenant is an exchange of persons.

At Mass, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Jesus gives Himself to us in the form of Bread and we give ourselves to Him. In addition, in the Liturgy of the Word, Jesus gives Himself to us in Holy Scripture. And after that end-of-Mass “commissioning,” when the priest (who acts in the place of Christ) says, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!”– THAT is when we are sent out into the world to “[live] on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

In James 1:22-24, Holy Scripture admonishes: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.”

It can be really hard being a Catholic twenty-something in a generation where moral relativity reigns and everything goes. Yet living our covenant life with Christ means both receiving Him in the Eucharist and living out our faith through our works: living on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God!

Catholic twenty-somethings, do our actions show that we even know ourselves? If we look at ourselves in “a glass,” we should be able to see Christ in us. We should be confident knowing that He is Our Master, Our Lord, Our Love.

James 2:26 clarifies further: “For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.” Receiving Our Heavenly Bread and listening to Him is not enough. We must believe and we must demonstrate our love for Our Eucharistic LORD through our actions. Yes, we are most fully alive when we receive His flesh and His blood in the Eucharist and when we try our very best to live “every word that comes forth from the mouth of God”!

Every good work we do is merely completed by the Holy Spirit working through us. We give our “go.” And our fuel is grace: it is Christ in us, Who we receive in the Eucharist!

Catholic twenty-somethings, this generation of ours is tired of hypocrites. Most especially during this Lenten season, may we always strive to walk the way of Christ! And may we never become discouraged if we fall a hundred times or a thousand times a day. For we ourselves do not merit Heaven through our works; Christ has already done that through His flesh and His blood.

All we must do is follow Him and give Him our flesh and our blood, as well as our actions, and not just our lip service! He will build His Kingdom through us. All we must do is give our joyful and humble, “Yes, LORD!”.

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