Lectionary Reflection: The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

By Joe Garity

Monday, September 10

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Psalm 125; James 2:1-10, 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

Faith vs. acts. This is one of those topics that reverberates throughout Christian history. What matters more: my personal faith or what I do? In the Reformation, this became a central part of Protestant dissent from Catholicism: we are saved by faith alone. 

Today’s readings touch on this. In Mark’s gospel, we see two miraculous healings. Jesus hesitates to heal the woman’s daughter, but seeing how strong her faith is, he does heal her. And the expectant faith of the crowd who brings the deaf and mute man to Jesus is rewarded with his healing. 

In the epistle of James, we read it is not enough to hear the Word, but we must act on it. Some people see this sentence as creating opposites: faith vs. action, but perhaps we should see these not as opposites but as intertwined and intersecting. We act in the world because of our faith, and we grow in our faith through our actions. One feeds on and encourages the other. Jesus healed because of the faith of others.

How do you balance faith and action in your life? How does your faith affect what you do? What actions will you take this week because of your faith? How are you encouraging others to act through their faith? 

Joe Garity is a recent graduate of the Cathedral’s EfM group, one of our Deanery delegates and a docent who gives tours of the Cathedral.

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