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 necessity for salvation. James says in contrast that unless one does good works, her or his faith vain. 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? Pope Francis recently commented that this would be impossible since God is like a loving father. James also dismisses the idea lest people use God as an excuse for sinning.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ prayer has real meaning. God allows humans be tried until their faith is about to break. Parents who have suffered the loss of a child know what a trial of faith is like as do the lonely who feel drawn to ruinous pleasures. When we find ourselves in such a crisis, 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.