6th Week, Tuesday, Feb 18th - Reflection & Liturgy

James 1:12-18 / Mark 8:14-21

James talks about temptation: Temptation precedes sin.

In his book Voyage to Windward, J. C. Furnas includes a thought-provoking story about Robert Louis Stevenson, author of the classic story Treasure Island. In his youth, Stevenson was filled with curiosity and superstition. In his late adolescense, he carried about on his body a formula for summoning forth the devil. “What a strange thing to do!” we say. What kind of person would do a thing like that? The truth is that we all do things like this. We do it when we place ourselves in a situation which we know has led us into temptation in the past. This is what James warns us about in today’s reading.

How diligently do we guard against placing ourselves in temptation situations? “Better to shun the bait than to struggle in the snare.  John Dry den
The Lord's Prayer, or the "Our Father" is a prayer that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray. It is also a prayer that we pray at Mass and at our devotions e.g. Rosary

When we do a reflection on that prayer, all seems well and good until we come to that part which has "Lead us not into temptation".

It seems that we are asking God our Father not to lead us into temptation. But why would God our Father want to lead us into temptation? It could be a case of translation, since the original text is in Greek. But the 1st reading would help to clarify this and help us come to a clearer understanding.

It says: Never, when you have been tempted, say, "God sent the temptation". God cannot be tempted to do anything wrong, and He does not tempt anybody. Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire.

So "Lead us not into temptation" is understood as imploring God our Father to protect and guard us from falling into the temptation of our own desire and from that of the evil one.

In the gospel, Jesus urges us to keep our eyes open and be on our guard. We need to know what our weaknesses are and in what areas we are prone to fall into temptation.

God our Father will not lead us into temptation. It is we who lead ourselves into temptation, and we need to ask God to protect from our evil desires. Let us draw our hearts nearer to God especially in praying the "Our Father" and may God cleanse us of the evil within us.
Tuesday of 6th Week -LITURGY


James calls blessed those who resist the test of temptations. But temptations do not come from God but from the concupiscence within ourselves. From God comes all good gifts. The theme of yesterday is continued in today’s reading. We should not ask for extraordinary signs but learn to see God’s presence and saving action in the events of life. The apostles have seen the signs Jesus worked among them. We too, should open our eyes and ears to the good things God does among us.

Opening Prayer 
Lord our God, when we do not see clearly in life, when suffering comes our way, we tend to blame you or people. Help us to realize clearly how much of the evil around us comes from within ourselves, from our greed for riches and power, from our self-complacency and selfishness. Speak to us your word of forgiveness and change us from a silent majority of evil into solidarity of love, by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

“Lead us not into temptation” is a petition in our daily prayer to God. Yet James says that God tempts no one. Our prayer simply means that we ask God to keep us free of situations in which temptations might arise. It does not imply that God does the tempting. But trial has its positive value. To remain strong in grace in the midst of temptation is to receive ultimately the crown of life. What James wishes to emphasize is that God is the author of all that is good. That does not mean that our life is not beset by pain and trial, but we have been blessed as well. As James makes clear, all who have been baptized have been brought to birth “by the word of truth.” We are the fruit of the new creation. Baptism is the key to life, the door to eternity. In the midst of their distress, the disciples failed to recall the providence of God. Is not the same true of us on many occasions? We all too easily lose sight of God’s providence. And we are assured that we will not be tested beyond our strength. The psalmist tells us today that the Lord will not forsake his people. Or to paraphrase Paul: If Christ has given his life for you, do you think he will abandon you now? We are all tested, sometimes even to the point of discouragement. But we are never abandoned. Lord, give us the light to see and to know. 

Points to Ponder 
The spiritual side of the trials of life
Faith in our daily difficulties
God’s providential care 

– For those who are tempted, that they may remember how Jesus overcame temptation and ask him to give them the strength to resist, we pray:
– For those who have seriously sinned, that they may remember that God still loves them and is ready to forgive them, we pray: – For all of us, that we may see the signs of God’s goodness and of the faith of good people, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts 
Lord God, loving Father, in these signs of bread and wine, you reassure us that you are always with us through him who became one of us, your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear all the good things you do for us through people who comfort us and share with us in the hour of need; help us to brighten each other’s lives with a smile and a warm word, as you are the light of our lives through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord our God, when we look for signs that you are still with us, give us the faith and the strength to be to the world the sign of your saving love by our integrity, our ways of peace, our concern for one another, for where charity and love prevail surely you are there through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Just open your eyes and your ears and learn to see the good things God does among us even today. Keep seeing and believing, for there are signs enough. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.