12 February. Monday of Week 6

1st Reading: James 1:1-11

The testing of your faith produces endurance

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

Responsorial Psalm (from Ps 119)

Resp./ Let your love come to me, and I shall live.

Before I was afflicted I went astray
but now I keep your word.
You are good and your deeds are good;
teach me your statutes. R./

It was good for me to be afflicted,
to learn your statutes.
The law from your mouth
means more to me than silver and gold. R./

Lord, I know that your decrees are right,
that you afflicted me justly.
Let your love be ready to console me
by your promise to your servant. R./

Gospel: Mark 8:11-13

Jesus refuses to give signs to his critics

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.


The message of St James

The letter of James claims to be written by the brother of the Lord, by which is probably meant kinsman or cousin. If so, then James knew the Lord’s mind and heart well and his outlook on things reflects that of his better known relative. The gospels strongly suggest that Jesus was not partial to people on the basis of social class. Indeed the portrayal of Jesus in the gospels suggests that he favoured the vulnerable, the poor, the weak, the defenceless. He was partial to the voiceless and the afflicted.

The moral message of James emphasises a sober, modest lifestyle, with a strong sense of fairness and of respect for those who are disrespected by the wealthy in society. Among the authors of the New Testament, James is the strongest proponent of social justice and inclusiveness, holding firmly to the principle that God shows no partiality.

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