Monday, January 18, 2021


Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

(Hebrews 5:1-105; Mark 2:18-22)

Today Americans celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The civil rights leader articulated the hopes of African Americans and indeed of Black people everywhere.  He declared that his people were tired of being dismissed as inferiors.  He asserted that each person be judged individually by character and not generally by skin color.  In his day Jesus’ preaching had such dynamic force.

In today’s gospel Jesus gives the basis for Christians not following Jewish dietary and liturgical customs.  He tells the people that the freshness of his teaching requires new practices.  Most likely Jesus himself did not advocate eating pork or worshipping on the first day of the week.  But he did see their possibility as he talked of the need of a new cloak and new wineskins.

As we follow Jesus, we should see his perspective reflected in the preaching of Dr. King.  Both advocated compassion and demanded justice.  Both envisioned a society based on what Pope Francis calls “social friendship.”  Both recognized that their common message will cause opposition.  And both had the courage to continue voicing it out of love.