Witnessing To Who We Are

– Thursday Week 4 of Lent –

“The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. .”  [John 5:36]

The relationship between what we believe and what we do is tricky. Some put the emphasis on belief, using the writings of Paul to endorse this perspective. These texts hold an important insight – that we are ‘saved’ as a pure gift from God and that there is nothing we can do to earn or purchase this gift.

In defence of the ‘faith and works’ approach, we have the writings of James and the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke). These make it clear that God is much less interested in what we believe or in what we say than he is in what we actually do (Matthew 25:31-46). That is to say, what we do reveals what we truly believe (See Matthew 7:21). However, this should not be misinterpreted to mean that what we do can save us. It cannot as, once again, salvation is a free gift from God.

In today’s text, the Jesus of John’s gospel speaks of the significance of ‘work’, but the work he refers to witness to who he is.

What does this mean for us as we pray and reflect throughout this day? We are to become aware that this is the day on which God is offering us the free gift of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). We are to remain vigilant and responsive unless our hearts become blind to what God is offering us (Acts 28:25-28). We are to say ‘yes’ to God with everything we are – through what we believe, through what we say and, primarily, through what we do. Our works testify to who we truly are, which is the essence of holiness (See Pope Francis, Rejoice and Be Glad #31-33).


by Shane Dwyer

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