9th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year II

Today’s First Reading invites us to hasten the end of the world as we know it. Why would we want the world to end? It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. As believers the Lord has promised us, as St. Peter reminds us, “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” If we do want this new world to come St. Peter today also answers the question of, “why wait?”

In the face of so much struggle and evil in the world, why not just end it all? Because of the people who’d be left out. The Lord’s waiting for us, and for others, to welcome the Gospel. The patience of Our Lord is always for the purpose of salvation.

We “hasten” that day by sharing the Gospel and working for the conversion of sinners. Let’s help spread the Gospel so that the Lord’s righteousness reigns.

Readings: 2 Peter 3:12–15a, 17–18; Psalm 90:2–4, 10, 14, 16; Mark 12:13–17. See also 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A and 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.

6th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year II

In today’s First Reading St. James reminds us that temptation does not come from God: God created us as good creatures who sought to do good things. After the Fall of Adam and Eve man’s tendency toward the good was twisted into an unhealthy and unholy attraction to seek and use good things in sinful ways, corrupting us instead of helping us grow in virtue and holiness.

In today’s Gospel the disciples are put on guard against the “leaven” of the Pharisees and Herod. Leaven produces a fermentation in bread that the Jews saw as corruption, which is why in worship they used unleavened bread. Metaphorically, leaven meant moral corruption. For the Pharisees it was hollow, loveless, religious observance without compassion: religious hypocrisy. For Herod, and the Sadducees, religion was just another tool to get what you wanted: worldliness and hedonism.

Temptation always comes across as something small, under the guise of something good or reasonable. When we consent to temptation we start leavening ourselves with corruption. Let’s ask Our Lord to detect and address any “leaven” impacting our lives in a sinful way.

Readings: James 1:12–18; Psalm 94:12–13a, 14–15, 18–19; Mark 8:14–21.


4th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year II

In today’s Gospel Jairus and the woman suffering from a hemorrhage teach us that if we take a risk and believe in Christ, things will exceed our expectations. Jairus risked his reputation as a synagogue official, trusting in a Rabbi with miraculous powers with the hope of healing his dying daughter. The ailing woman risked being the fool when she believed she could touch Our Lord’s cloak and receive healing unseen. Her healing and encounter with Our Lord were just in time to give Jairus the encouragement he needed when news reached him of his daughter’s death. Jairus still believed in Our Lord, even when he realized he was now asking for something much greater.

The mourners for the little girl were scornful and incredulous when Our Lord said the girl was only sleeping. As Christians we know Our Lord was saying something much deeper: death is simply a “falling asleep,” as Paul would later say in his letters, awaiting the Resurrection from the dead. Jairus for his faith didn’t have to wait until the life of the world to come to be with his daughter again.

The hemmorraghic woman didn’t expect she’d have to explain herself in front of the crowds. Jairus didn’t expect that he’d be asking for his girl to return to life. They took a risk and had faith in Our Lord, and he blessed them beyond their expectations. Let’s also take a risk of faith. We won’t be disappointed.

Readings: 2 Samuel 18:9–10, 14b, 24–25a, 30–19:3; Psalm 86:1–6; Mark 5:21–43. See also 14th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, and 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.

24th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year I

In today’s Gospel the Lord has pity on the widow of Nain and raises her young son from the dead. There are abundant reasons for compassion toward the poor widow. The Old Testament is full of exhortations to not exploit widows and orphans; widows were in a very vulnerable situation, and even more so without children to help them. The Promised Land for the Jews was also linked to heritage; your line determined your tribe and your right to a portion of the Promised Land, and the widow’s birthright without a son would die with her.

The pain a parent experiences at having to bury a child is beyond words. We can wonder if Our Lord looked upon her in her grief and imagined the pain his own mother would soon experience as he was taken down, lifeless, from the cross at Calvary. The Blessed Mother couldn’t be spared this sorrow, but this poor woman could. Finally, Our Lord took pity on everyone who witnessed this scene. Death was the ultimate source of hopelessness. In his earthly life Our Lord did not raise many from the dead, and it was the raising of Lazarus in John’s Gospel that signaled the final decision of the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus (see John 12:9-10). If word spread like wildfire of this miracle it was because death was revealed to not be the last word.

This miracle was the crack of dawn of what would soon blaze in the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Death no longer has the last word. Let’s strive to be compassionate toward others, especially those who have lost a loved one, and encourage them with the certainty that, thanks to Christ, death does not have the last word.

Readings: 1 Timothy 3:1–13; Psalm 101:1b–3b, 5–6; 7:11–17.


23rd Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year I

In today’s First Reading it seems Paul is addressing an implied misconception of Our Lord that he is just another powerful spiritual being among many, perhaps according to some hierarchy of angels in which the Colossians believed. Paul is very clear: “in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily.” Jesus Christ is God. In today’s Gospel the Lord is healing people with a touch and driving out demons effortlessly. People are flocking to him just to touch him and be healed.

The First Reading also reminds us that we have not just been taught by Christ, but, through the sacraments, we participate in his very life, including the most important events of his earthly life: his death and resurrection. He took our condemnation upon himself and when we share in his life, that condemnation is obliterated for us too.

Our Lord, through the sacraments, continues to give us an opportunity to be touched by him and healed. Let’s take advantage of every opportunity to draw closer to him.

Readings: Colossians 2:6–15; Psalm 145:1b–2, 8–11; Luke 6:12–19. See also 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Friday14th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday and Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles.