Mirrors are part of everyday life. We look in them each day to see how we look. The Apostle James likens the Word of God to a mirror. He tells us that “To listen to the Word of God is like looking in a mirror.” James tells us that to examine ourselves against the Word of God, is to look into “the perfect mirror.”
God’s Word holds a rare and revealing mirror to our lives. We truly do learn a great deal about ourselves when we honestly look in it. This mirror will search out our impurities, make us aware of all that is hollow in ourselves, such as, pride, selfishness, or greed. Some people do not look into the mirror because they are afraid of what they might see and not like it. They try to avoid the self-questioning the mirror demands by staying away from it.
The great philosopher, Socrates, said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Therefore, we should have the courage to look in the mirror and face the truth about ourselves. Jesus told us that “the truth will set you free.”
When we look into an ordinary mirror we see ourselves as we are, physically only, of course. When we look into the mirror of God’s Word we see ourselves spiritually. But we see more than that. We see ourselves as we could be. It shows us what we are capable of becoming. We see the possibilities, and what we are called to be. The Word of God challenges us to a bolder, truer and deeper living.
It is into this perfect mirror that we must gaze in order to grow. If it does not accuse us, then we have nothing to fear. But it is unlikely that we shall not find something amiss, something wanting.
James says that it is possible to look into the mirror and then go away and forget what one saw. However, we all know that nothing good will come from that. He makes the connection between faith and works. “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”
If we look in the mirror James holds up before us in today’s second reading what will we see? This short but very powerful reading reminds us that for faith to be what faith is meant to be, it must be lived out through our actions. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction (in other words to care for the most vulnerable) and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” This is the path to sanctity, holiness of life. All of us are called to be holy.
— Fr. Dennis, September 2, 2018