Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Timothy 1:1-3.6-12; Mark 12:18-27)
An inter-Catholic affair made national news a few weeks ago. The bishop of Phoenix dismissed a religious sister from the city Catholic hospital’s ethics board after she advised a pregnant woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension to abort her baby rather than face possible death to herself and her child. Journalists wonder how anyone might be required to give up her life for a person who is not even half-formed yet.
The Catholic answer, which will seem unrealistic to many, is that God has empowered us for heroism with the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is what St. Paul is referring to when he prescribes that Timothy “stir into flame the gift of God that you have.” Being daughters and sons of God, Christians are always to do good and never evil. Of course, depriving a completely human being of life is a serious evil morally equivalent to murder. The fact that our society accepts it as a practice to avoid difficulty casts a huge dark shadow on us as a people.
When Jesus taught us to pray “lead us not into temptation,” he probably had situations like the pregnant woman’s in mind. We do not want to be tried more than we have the capacity to withstand. However, we also conclude the prayer with “deliver us from evil” knowing that God will come to our side no matter the challenge confronting us.