Friday of Week XXVIII

“Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works, he has reason to boast; but this was not so in the sight of God.” (Romans 4:2.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“This is a rhetorical argument, which goes like this: Someone who is justified by works has nothing to boast of before God. But Abraham did have something to glory in before God. Therefore he was justified by faith and not by works.

In this whole passage it seems that the apostle wants to show that there are two justifications, one by works and the other by faith. He says that justification by works has its glory but only in and of itself, not before God. Justification by faith, on the other hand, has glory before God, who sees our hearts and knows those who believe in secret and those who do not believe. Thus it is right to say that it has glory only before God, who sees the hidden power of faith. But the one who looks for justification by works may expect honor mainly from other persons who see and approve of them.

Let no one think that someone who has faith enough to be justified and to have glory before God can at the same time have unrighteousness dwelling in him as well. For faith cannot coexist with unbelief, nor can righteousness with wickedness, just as light and darkness cannot live together.” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans)

May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times
go before us and follow after
and make us always determined
to carry out good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen