Today’s first Mass reading from St. James strikes a familiar chord: It is not enough to say we know Jesus, to say we have embraced Him. Rather, “whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.” Thus, says St. James, one who claims to be in the light but does not love his brother “is still in the darkness.”
When I read this morning’s passage, I thought of a line I just read in Follow Me to Freedom, a book by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins I am now reading. Shane observes, “We can call anything Christian, but the real question is, Does it look like Jesus?” Being Christian means living lives of faith and integrity, doing God’s work in the world.”
Later in the book, Shane talks about a study done by one Christian congregation. The study showed that the church had done a good job getting people to come to services and proclaim their belief in Jesus. However, “the study also showed that many of their members did not end up living much differently than they had before
Anyone can say, “I am a Christian” or “I’ve accepted Jesus in my heart.” We can say all sorts of things about ourselves and our faith. But the test of whether we truly abide in Christ is simple: do we walk as he walked? Do our lives look different because of Jesus?