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Browsing Reflections Archive

January 19, 2021

Daily Reflection for Tuesday January 19, 2021

Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Hebrews 6:10-20
Responsorial: Psalm 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10c
Gospel: Mark 2:23-28

Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.     Mark 2:27

It’s still early enough in this New Year to see ads and articles about ambitious exercise regimes, new eating plans, and other self-improvement resolutions. The underlying message is that by working a little harder and by following some strict rules we can fix whatever’s wrong with us. That strategy might achieve some success in the physical realm but in today’s gospel Jesus rejects it as a template for spiritual well-being.

In today’s gospel passage, the Pharisees criticize Jesus’ disciples for picking heads of grain as they walked through a field. It was the sabbath. In the Pharisees’ view, this violated the strict rules which prohibited work on the sabbath.  The Pharisees hoped to achieve salvation by faithfully following the law. As so often happened in Jesus’ clashes with the Pharisees, He challenged their views about the role of the law and human striving in the mystery of salvation.

In a striking interview, so does contemporary Lutheran Pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber:
Any system where the message is: through your own striving you can become pure in some way, morally, ethically or politically—that’s impossible. That’s what we call being “under the law.” And when you’re under the law there are only two options: pride or despair. You’re either prideful about the way that you’re nailing it, especially if other people aren’t, or you despair that you can’t live up to it. Either way it’s not good news… what I do need is some good news from a source that’s external to me. It can’t be that I should be trying harder—that’s more bad news. So, the good news has to be … about God’s intercession in our lives through Jesus Christ!

I am grateful for this reminder that salvation comes not through my own striving but through God’s generous grace and mercy. I can resist my neurotic and exhausting obsessions about fixing my own imperfections. I am not at all suggesting indifference about the responsibility to live as lovingly and virtuously as I can.  But the more important message for me is that God is the sole source of salvation.

May we trust that God is at work in our lives every moment, give thanks, and generously respond in love to that truly good news.

Wishing you God’s blessings,
Jean Galanti


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