The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has written a lot of books, one of the recent is Jesus of Nazareth.
In this, he echoes what many outside the Catholic Church subscribe to, that you cannot lift verses out of the Bible and understand them on their own.
You must look at every verse in the context of the entire Bible, and, as the Catholic Church teaches, also consider the teaching of the Church. (With respect to “listening” to the Church, take a look at 1 Ti 3:15 – the church, not the Bible, is the foundation of our faith, well our faith anyway.).
The Catholic Church teaches that our salvation is totally dependent on Jesus Christ. there is nothing we can do to take the place or add to what Jesus has done. The issue cannot be plainer.
But, most of the New Testament also makes it very plain that we are to repent of our sins, turn away from them, and live our lives following the Master.
Undoubtedly what you are questioning when you say Catholics follow a “works” gospel are the sacraments of the Church, which we believe God has given to us and which are scripturally based.
We must be baptized, usually and normally with water. Jesus gave us a liturgy, which we call the Mass. He FIRST took bread and said that it was His body, He took wine and said that it was His blood. We do this as a continuation of this first liturgy, as He commanded.
You must really read ALL the verses in the Bible, especially the New Testament. You, I respectfully submit, must shake yourself free of the oversimplification of looking for ‘proof texts.’
And, what have you got to lose? Look at the ‘early church fathers’ and their writings. They believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Elsewhere on the Catholic Answers website is “This Rock” magazine. There is an excellent article by Dr. Scott Hahn about the ‘search for the fourth cup.’ He discusses aspects of the Lord’s Passover which you may find inspiring and life-changing.
He points out how in the Jewish tradition of Passover, the Jews consumed the body of the sacrificial victim. It had to be eaten in its entirety (with anything left over burnt the next day). Likewise…LIKEWISE…Jesus gives us Himself to eat, under the forms of bread and wine. With your eyes wide open, how can you dismiss this?