Faith and Works

If you grew up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s and were Catholic, you were someone who needed to be saved, at least in the estimation of your Reformed, Protestant and Evangelical brothers and sisters. Anytime was the right time to ask “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior” – at the post office, the gas station, or the local Piggly-Wiggly (and “yes” it is a real store and not a fictional name created for the movies). Continue reading

Love and Doing Good

This coming Sunday is the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time in which we are reading the second part of the “Sermon on the Plains” that began in Luke 6:17. In v.35 ff Jesus repeats the triplet of love, doing good, and lending/giving as challenges the listener to exercise all three actions freely, without obligation, and without the expectation of return. He is advocating an inversion of the social norms in order to establish a new people, a new family of different ethic and calling. What is the motivation? “…expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High” Note that this is still “something given in return” but not from the act of one’s beneficial act or the gratitude of the recipient, rather, it is God who rewards them. In a new way, God becomes the great benefactor and protector, but not in a contractual manner – but in a covenantal way. It is not an exchange of goods or services or favor, but a giving of oneself wholly to the other even as the other gives one wholly to you. Continue reading