Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
(Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 2:18-22)
In the gospel Jesus asks the people to practice, at least for a time, a new kind of religiosity. Rather than fasting as most pious people do, he wants them to give increased attention to himself as God’s representative. He knows that religion is more than a matter of custom. It is discerning and practicing the will of God.
Martin Luther King, Jr., had a similar sense of himself. He spoke to the hearts of both black and white people who were searching for the living God. He knew that many people go to church on Sundays and practice bigotry. He implored the whole world to look beyond the color of a person’s skin to the intentions of her or his heart before judging.
We pay tribute to Martin Luther King today because in imitation of our Savior he gave up his life. He felt danger lurking – “I may not get (to the Promised Land) with you,” he conjectured, but did not give up the quest for freedom. He died as he lived to liberate blacks from the indignity of prejudice and whites from the sin of hatred.