Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

(James 1:12-18; Mark 8:14-21)

The Letter of James is often said to counterbalance the Letters of St. Paul where the latter emphasizes faith as the sole criteria for salvation.  James says in distinction that unless faith is lived in charity, it is useless.  In today’s passage James corrects another frequently misunderstood dictum in Scripture.

In the “Our Father” Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, “’Lead us not into temptation…’” Is he implying that God might tempt people to sin as a lustful young man might tempt his date into his apartment?  That cannot happen, and James intends to chase the idea from people’s mind lest they make excuses for their sins.

Nevertheless, Jesus’ prayer has real meaning.  God seems to permit that humans be tried until their faith is about to break.  Parents suffer the loss of children, and the lonely feel drawn to ruinous pleasures.  At these junctures we should cling to James’ advice.  He says that God created us in love and will provide the means to overcome all threats to our salvation.