Posted by: frburke23 | February 18, 2014

Thought for Wednesday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time

Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.


This advice from James is often quoted:  “Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger….”  James asks us to put away anger, “filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you.”  He asks us to open our hearts to allow God’s word to take root in us.

But what really struck me in this reading is James’ focus on being “doers of the word”.  It is one thing to hear the word of God and another thing to put it into practice.  So there are two important steps to putting the word of God into action:

1)     Listening to the Word of God.  This means we have to take time to read the Scriptures.  We can’t put into action what we don’t know.  I highly recommend at least 5-10 minutes a day of reading God’s word.  Read the readings of the day.  The fact that you are reading this means you are doing so.  We also need to pray each day to attune our hearts to God speaking within us.  This takes practice and will not happen without the effort.  But as always, every good thing in life takes time and effort. 

2)    Putting God’s Word into action.  Once we listen to God through prayer and the Scriptures, we have to respond.  As I listen to God, what does He challenge me to do?  How does He ask me to change my life?  How can I love God better?  How can I love my neighbor today?

How do we know if we are doing God’s will?  James says that we should be caring for the poor – the orphans and the widows.  And we are called to keep our lives “unstained by the world.”

Who are the poor around me that need to experience God’s love through me?

Am I maintaining my purity?

Do I allow my heart to be stained by the things of this world that are no good for me?

Have a blessed day!

Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:

SANTIAGO 1:19-27

Sepan esto, mis queridos hermanos y hermanas:
Todos deben ser rápidos para oír, lentos para hablar, lentos para la ira
porque la ira no cumple
la justicia de Dios.
Por lo tanto, guarden toda inmundicia y exceso de maldad
y humildemente denle la bienvenida a la palabra que ha sido sembrada en ustedes
y es capaz de salvar sus almas.

Sean hacedores de la palabra y no solamente oyentes, engañándose ustedes mismos.
Porque si alguno es oyente de la palabra y  no hacedor,
él es como un hombre que mira su propia cara en un espejo.
Se mira a sí mismo, luego se va y rápidamente se olvida
como se veía.
Pero el que mira atentamente en la perfecta ley de la libertad y persevera,
y no es un oyente que se olvida, sino un hacedor que actúa;
tal persona será bendecida en lo que hace.

Si alguien cree ser religioso y no refrena su lengua,
pero engaña su corazón, su religión es vana.
La religión que es pura y sin mancha delante de Dios y del Padre es esta:
para cuidar a los huérfanos y a las viudas en sus aflicciones
y mantenerse uno mismo sin mancha por el mundo.


Este consejo de Santiago es a menudo citado: “Todos deben ser rápidos para oír, lentos para hablar, lentos para la ira….” Santiago nos pide que guardemos la ira, “inmundicia y exceso de maldad y humildemente denle la bienvenida a la palabra que ha sido sembrada en ustedes.” Él nos pide que abramos nuestros corazones para permitir que la palabra de Dios eche raíz en nosotros.

Pero lo que realmente me llamó la atención en esta lectura es el enfoque de Santiago en ser “hacedores de la palabra”. Una cosa es escuchar la palabra de Dios y otra cosa es ponerla en práctica. Así que hay dos pasos importantes para poner la palabra de Dios en acción:

1)     Escuchando la Palabra de Dios. Esto significa que tenemos que tomar tiempo para leer las Escrituras. No podemos poner en acción lo que no sabemos. Yo recomiendo mucho leer al menos 5-10 minutos al día la Palabra de Dios. Lee las lecturas del día. El hecho de que estás leyendo esto significa que lo estás haciendo. También necesitamos orar cada día para sintonizar nuestros corazones al Dios que habla dentro de nosotros. Esto toma práctica y no sucederá sin el esfuerzo. Pero como siempre, todo lo bueno en la vida toma tiempo y esfuerzo.

2) Poner la Palabra de Dios en acción. Una vez que escuchamos a Dios a través de la oración y las Escrituras, tenemos que responder. Mientras escucho a Dios, ¿qué me desafía El a hacer? ¿Cómo El me pide que cambie mi vida? ¿Cómo puedo amar más a Dios? ¿Cómo puedo amar hoy a mi prójimo?

¿Cómo sabemos si estamos haciendo la voluntad de Dios? Santiago dice que debemos cuidar a los pobres – los huérfanos y las viudas. Y estamos llamados a mantener nuestras vidas “sin mancha por el mundo.”

¿Quiénes son los pobres a mi alrededor que necesitan experimentar el amor de Dios a través de mí?
¿Estoy manteniendo mi pureza?
¿Permito que mi corazón se manche por las cosas de este mundo que no son buenas para mí?

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke




  1. Fr. Burke,

    I always love your post…. They make me ponder:

    Some of my pondering thoughts for today :

    “Unstained by the world”

    I’m struggling a tad …in wondering who are the poor?…the orphan? Instead I’m asking: Do we choose to be poor? (Unwilling to work) Do we choose to be widows? single parents? (The divorce rate). We are given Free-Will???

    My oldest son (age 20) came home from work the other day (3AM til 7:PM… long day….not all days this long but most are.) and said: “Obama Care….is now saying: People don’t have to work anymore…they can do what they want… the things you always wanted to do…..ooooOH where is this world headed? There are a lot of people who work today to have insurance (a benefit for one to work)….

    “Benefits of Obama Care is that people will no longer have to work to get health insurance….they can qualify to get subsides (welfare another words). Somebody has to pay for this.

    Where is the “Morality” in asking someone to work extra hard and then under penalty of law taking some of his money to give benefits to those who don’t want to work.

    My husband and sons jobs, randomly have to go take a drug test….People who get welfare, before they get their welfare checks and food stamps…..Why are they not randomly picked to go take a drug test before getting there welfare checks and food stamps?

    What are we creating?

    We are living in Trouble Time’s….When the Reading of 2 Thes 3:6-16 (Neglect of Work) comes through the Reading Cycle….this reading seems to get skipped over…..Maybe it should start getting evened out….instead of always mentioning give to the poor and orphan’s we should also be telling the people to get out there and work for a living…..2Thes 3:10 In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat……Hard, deep, tough Love! Is this not Love?

    Give em a fish they will eat for a day……Teach them how to fish they will eat for a life time!

    Been Blessed,

  2. Thank you and your encouraging words .It makes my day and gives it more meaning when I try to practice Gods word and your interptation of it. God bless you and your work……. Thanks

  3. Am so much inspired by your reflections Father. What I want to appeal to my fellow Christians is that Action speaks louder that words

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