Doers of the Word
The second reading for today begins a five-week series of selections from James, a letter that is classified among the so-called “catholic” (or universal) epistles because they are addressed to a general audience rather than to one particular community. Today’s text offers important advice for Christians of every generation. God is first cited as the author of all gifts, and in particular, reference is made to the gift of baptism by which we have been made the “first fruits” of the new creation.
What follows is advice based on a very Jewish understanding of the “word” as an active force, operative in the world. We are reminded that unless we, too, become “doers” of the word, our claim to faith is empty. Today and in subsequent weeks the author reminds us that it is equally important to do the “works” of love, for example, by caring for the “orphans and widows in their affliction.”
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