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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Good Works

James 2:22-26: You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.”

Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Both faith and good works are necessary for salvation. This is the witness of Scripture. Martin Luther was so possessed by his “faith alone” theory that he even forcibly inserted the word “alone” into his version of the Bible. When told about his error, he responded that he would not remove it even if an angel from heaven were to tell him to do so. Catholics rightly contend that faith must be actualized with charity. We profess and make real our faith, not only with an assent of the mind and our words, but with our heart and our actions. Christ is only “our personal Lord and Savior” if we exercise necessary faith and good works. The incarnation of Christ, first into human flesh and now into our souls by grace, allows him to perpetuate his ministry through our lives. Good works have merit precisely because the Lord living in us ultimately performs them. Since faith and good works are required, it becomes an imperative that we reject the view of Luther. It does make a difference what we believe. The growing consensus on this issue between modern day Lutherans and Catholics is evidence of a positive development in mainline Protestantism as well as a reconciliatory stance with Catholicism.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.