Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

How to untangle St. James message in today’s second reading! He tells us that trials, temptations bring us to “the crown of life.” Then, “the tug and the lure of his own passion tempts every man.” Result: “Passion gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches maturity it begets death.” He sounds like a politician explaining Obamacare! How cam we reconcile these seeming contradictions – crown of life and spiritual death? We can’t.

God can, says James. He gives us life with his word of truth. This is so if reject the “old leaven” (enter the Pharisees once again) and live in purity and truth. And so the challenge: Do I pray to “understand” existentially God’s word for me each moment of the day?

James’ words, convoluting, as they seem to be, further invite me to reflect on the role of temptations and trials in my daily life. It is out of his love that God allows these challenges to come. They give me the opportunity to show my faith and love – and to see my weakness too. They act as a purifying element for my commitment. Finally they allow me, in union with Christ on the cross, to make atonement for my sins and the sins of others.

February 18th, 2014