1st Week of Ordinary Time (19th January, 2019)
First Reading: Heb 4:12-16
Gospel: Mk 2:13-17
The following of God’s call necessitates that we are guarded both internally and externally. In other woods, we are to be wary of enemies’ attack from both outside as well as inside. What it would mean is that we need to have the internal strength i.e., Our faith and external strength i.e., good action. This is what St. James in his letter would say, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is death” (Jam 2:17), and again he ways, “For as the body apart from the Spirit is death, so faith apart from works is death” (Jam 2:26). Every flower of God needs these two elements i.e., faith and good works.
Today the Gospel bears a warning to the Pharisees when Jesus says, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and leaven of Herod”. The leaven here is meant the bad influence on the public due to their acts and lifestyle especially on the disciples. As the yeast makes the dough bulge, here the leaven mentioned in the Gospel, Jesus warns, would have negative influence on the disciples. Hence the disciples are to be cautious about. We find the same warning in another instance where Jesus says, “So practice and observe whatever they tell you; but not what they do; for they preach but do not practice” (Mt 23:3). Here he explicitly warns against the practice of Pharisees such as who only preach but do not practice, make exhibition of their acts and impose heavy burden on the people while they would remain unencumbered etc. in other words, Jesus wants that the disciples should prefer good acts and act accordingly.
The second point Jesus exhorts is to have deep faith in Jesus. He does express his shock and surprise over their unbelief. Therefore, He asks them to have more faith in Him by drawing inspiration from his preaching and miracles. We see similar sort of expression already where he says, “If only you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to ther, and it will move and nothing will be impossible to you” (Mt 17:21). Faith is an important aspect of Christian life. Wherever he found such faith, he does explicitly appreciate the prayers of those in whom he found faith i.e. the case of centurion (Lk 17:21 ). Faith is an important aspect of Christian life. Where ever he found such faith, he does explicitly appreciate those prayer in whom he found faith i.e. case of Centurion (Lk 7:9); Canaanite woman (Mt 15:28). Today we too need both these good actions as well as faith to gain eternal life. Amen.