Praising Faith and Practicing Love

Advent 3 Saturday

Matthew 11:4-6

“Jesus answered and said to them: Go and tell John what you see and hear: The blind see; the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed; and the deaf hear, the dead rise up, and the gospel is preached to the poor. And blessed is he who is not offended by me.”

We have said about the other gospel readings that we should take two doctrines from them, faith and love, or receiving good works and demonstrating good works. We should do here likewise, praising faith and practicing love: Faith receives the good works of Christ. Love does good works for the neighbor. First, our faith is strengthened when Christ is depicted before us in his own natural work. The fact that he only deals with the blind, the deaf, and the lame, with lepers, dead,
and poor–that is pure love and goodness toward all who are needy and miserable, so that finally, Christ is nothing but a comfort and refuge for all whose consciences are saddened and weak. Here you need the kind of faith that builds on
this gospel and relies on it: do not doubt that Christ is exactly as this gospel depicts him. Do not think any different of him. Do not let others tell you differently. Then you will have him just as you believe and as this gospel says about him. For you have what you believe. And blessed is he who is not offended by him…Second, he teaches us to begin our works in the right way and tells us also what good works are. All works except faith we are to direct toward the neighbor. For God does not require us to do for him any work besides faith through Christ. Faith is enough for God for by faith, we give him his glory as the one who is gracious, merciful, wise, good, truthful, and the like. After that, do not think anything but
doing for the neighbor as Christ did for you: Let all your works with all your life be directed toward your neighbor. Seek out the poor, the sick, and the infirm–help them and let your life’s practice be that those who need you are benefited by you as much as you can with your body, possessions, and honor. Avoid like wolf and devil those who show you different works because they want to put an obstacle before you, as David says in Psalm 142:3, “They placed offenses in my path.”
Yet this is exactly what the perverted papists do who abrogate such Christian work with their service of God, teaching the people only to serve God and not their fellow man: paying for monasteries, masses, vigils; becoming a priest–this is what they call service of God, but they have chosen it themselves. But you know that serving God is nothing but serving your neighbor and benefiting him with your love, whether child, woman, servant, foe, or friend, without any different, whoever needs you in body and soul, and wherever you can help, bodily or spiritually. This is service of God and good works. Oh Lord God, how we fools walk about in the world while omitting such works, although there is a superabundance of places where we could practice them; no one seeks or cares to do them.

St. Louis ed. 11:93-95.

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