St. James the Apostle, in his letter to us, wrote, "My brothers, what good is it for some to say that he has faith if his actions do not prove it?" (2:14). "I will show you my faith by my actions." (2:18). He also expressed this same concept when he said "be doers of the word, and not only listeners." (1:22).
History teaches us that the early Christians became a force that was irresistable; they conquered the might of the Roman Empire and its vast armies. Although they did not possess a single weapon, they were able to change the course of human history.
When we seek to discover the secret of this outstanding achievement, we learn that it is extremely simple; they merely expressed their faith in the deeds of their everyday lives. In doing so, they taught us that a faith that is meaningful and relevant must be a faith that works and expresses itself in daily living. One of the strongest evidences that we can offer for the relevance of Christianity to a suffering and needy world, is the good that we do because of our own relationship with Christ.
St. Vasilios, our parish patron, understood this as did few others in Christian history. As an expression of his own incredible faith, he established countless orphanages, hospitals, old age homes, traveler's hostels, and other institutions too numerous to mention here. In doing so, he created a system of human philanthropy and social welfare that has never been equalled. All this, because he believed that his faith needed to be expressed in action!
Our faith, in comparison, is nominal, passive and restricted. It finds brief expression on Sunday morning, if at all. In the places where we work, study, and play, we are not doers of our faith, but hearers only. This is why the witness of the Christian faith is so weak in our own day.
We do not need to go down in history and be remembered for what we have done, as was St. Vasilios. But in our own sphere of influence, and in accordance with our own particular strenghths, we can allow ourselves to be used by God to bring blessings in the lives of others. Every good deed that we do for others in Christ's name expresses our faith, a faith that works.