In today’s second reading, James compares the Scriptures to a mirror. When we read the word of God, or when we hear it proclaimed at Mass, we often see ourselves in the stories and teachings it contains. Scripture helps us “discern reflections and thoughts of the heart,” both the good thoughts and the not so good ones (Hebrews 4:12). Scripture
can expose our pride, confront our resentments, or uncover our deception, greed, or lust. But at the same time, Scripture assures us that God made us in his image. It convinces us that God loves us and that his grace is more than enough to change our lives.
But no matter how much grace God has for us, James tells us that it’s not enough just to hear the word of God—not if we want to see any significant changes in the sinful areas of our lives. Similarly, just hearing the word of God won’t result in a growth in our gifts and virtues. We
have to be “doers of the word” as well as “hearers” (James 1:22). James gives us a wonderful image to help make this point: someone who hears the word but doesn’t put it into action “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” (James 1:23-24).
James isn’t speaking about a poor memory here. He’s speaking about poor priorities. People “forget” Scripture because they have placed other priorities ahead of following the Lord.
The word of God does have the power to help us—but only to the degree that we cooperate with it. So be sure to read Scripture each day. But also be sure to write down one action step you can take based on what you have read. Then, dedicate your day to taking that one step at every opportunity. Let it help you say no to sin and yes to God today. If you do, you will be “blessed” beyond your expectations (James 1:25)!