Sunday, September 12, 2021

Doing Good

“Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you with works.” James 2:18

A few years ago, Pope Francis said something in one of his daily homilies that created a lot of controversy. Pope Francis usually says mass in St. Martha's House, where he lives, and he gives homilies like a regular priest sometimes, without a text to read from. From one of these homilies it was reported around the world that he said that atheists could get to heaven by their good works.

Reading from the transcript, it is apparent that the Pope did not mean this. He said that we all, even atheists, have the duty to do good. And perhaps, because we were created by a good God we have that inner urge, that drive, that need to do good. He said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation." And the Pope goes on to say that even non-believers "must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. . . the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”. 

“And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good."

And here is the statement that caused such an outcry, when the Pope imagines a dialogue: “But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” “There" does not mean heaven, but an agreement, a path towards peace. Indeed, Jesus made an example of the good samaritan who was a neighbor to someone in need. We all have a purpose, we all have good works to do. We all need to make time, to use our talents and treasure to bless others!

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:^) Patsy