In the Gospel today, Jesus warned against confidence in riches: Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. We are not secure just because we have an abundance of material riches. Likewise, riches while they are blessings from God IF they are earned morally, does not indicate salvation. At the time of Jesus, the people believed riches are signs of God’s blessings and favor. Yet St Paul tells us we are not saved because we have riches or we do a lot of good works. Instead, Paul said for by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. This is not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
This is one of the errors being taught by some Catholic teachers: that we have to serve the poor, the immigrants, the homeless thinking that mere service will unite us with Christ. We are united with Christ, not by good works alone, nor by faith alone. We are united with Christ when we accept the salvation he gives us AND proving this faith through our actions. What good is faith if we do not do things that are consistent with what Jesus teaches?
So we can conclude: while we are saved by grace through faith, we are not saved by faith ALONE. The word ALONE is not in this verse. We are saved by faith, when we accept God as our Savior and bearing fruit in good works. St Paul wrote: we are what he has made us, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Faith must bear fruit in good works. Good works include our suffering, especially when we unite these with the suffering of Jesus. This is what Paul of the Cross tells us: In times of aridity arouse your spirit gently, by acts of love; then rest in the will of God. It is thus that the soul gives the strongest proof of her fidelity to God. Make a bouquet of the sufferings of Jesus, and place it on the bosom of your soul, as I have told you.
When we suffer, we share in the sufferings of Jesus and we show our faith in him when we unite our suffering to his and offer it to him. This kind of suffering helps atone for the sins of others.
Lord, let me not trust in my material possessions. Let me hold true to you as my riches. Let me trust only in you and let me have faith that bears fruit in good works.