Letter of St. James 1:12-18
Psalm 94:12-13a, 14-15, 18-19
Gospel of Mark 8:14-21
I am away from my wife on Valentine’s Day. It’s a business trip that couldn’t be postponed, but that doesn’t make me miss her any less.
I also don’t like being away from my wife because my corrupted nature starts to tempt me. By the grace of God, I can resist temptation now better than before I was married. Yet, it’s still there and I’m afraid. Temptation always begins as an unbidden thought, triggered by something mundane like drinking coffee or going to the bathroom. Or, the trigger could be something scandalous in a movie I’m watching, or a book I’m reading. The thought then starts to feed on my memories, my fantasies, the broken and scarred part of me. It’s like my past sins sliced gaping wounds to my soul. Baptism, confession and the Eucharist are healing those wounds. Temptation threatens to tear open the scabs.
So, I’ve learned to recognize my thoughts that would lead me astray. I pray “Lord, my foot is slipping,” and I hold onto the hope that the Holy Spirit will quell the desire to continue on that line of thought. It’s weird: I know that thought is wrong, but I still have the desire to think it. Is this what is meant by concupiscence?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples “Do you still not understand?” I am often guilty of that: I don’t understand that there is a world beyond what I can see, hear, taste, smell and touch. Jesus’ ability to take five loaves of bread to feed five thousand and still have twelve baskets left over is a lesson for me to look beyond what I can eat in front of me. What is my soul consuming?