The Prayer Group's Faith
Father Diotrophes preached on James 2: 14-26. It was on practical faith. Faith is what the prayer group had. Yes, indeed! They had so much faith that it was ridiculous. They really were too much. They were overly pious. But they were genuine; it wasn’t just for show.
But God forgive him, the group just got on his nerves.
Father Diotrophes tried to get across to them that praying wasn’t enough. They should do some good works. Faith without works is dead. Maybe they could help with the parish food pantry. They could help drive those who can’t drive to Mass. They could visit nursing homes.
They just smiled and nodded at him like they always did, and continued fingering their rosaries. Father Diotrophes sighed. It was no use, they didn't get it.
On his way down the aisle in recession, Father tripped and hurt his back. Everyone rushed to help but he waved them off. He was better off alone. Everyone left him alone, except the prayer group.
They insisted on taking his arms and walking with him—and they walked too fast. They all tumbled down the church stairs. It looked like the entire prayer group landed on top of him.
Father didn’t think he could get up. The prayer group said that he was not to worry, they’d carry him. That announcement caused Father Diotrophes to get up as fast as he could. Again they all pulled and pushed him too fast and this time they all almost fell up the rectory stairs.
Finally, Father was in his own home. The prayer group was getting him a glass of water, pillows for his back, a heating pad, ice bag, taking off his shoes…
ENOUGH! Father Diotrophes shouted. “Stop it. Everyone go home and leave me alone.”
The prayer group reacted like they were slapped. Their collective expression looked like scolded puppies. Father’s tone softened. “Thank you but I want to be alone.”
“But Father Diotrophes,” their leader explained. “You said, ‘Faith without works is dead.’”
“We’ll stay and help you.” That’s all Father Diotrophes heard because he was banging his head on the table.