Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. No one, when tempted, should say, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved. Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Today is Tuesday the 18 February in the Sixth week of Ordinary time.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo sing Uqinisil’Ubaba: After travelling the whole world, I still come to the same truth that I left at home: God is truth! So why do you doubt? Don’t doubt, hold on to him and place your hope in him. Listen to God because he is truth.
Today’s reading is from the Letter of James.
“Blessed is anyone who endures temptation”, James tells us. But the key to “temptation” is noticing it. Good people are not tempted by things that appear to them as evil – they are tempted by things that appear to be good, things that don’t seem like “temptation” at all. What are the good things that might turn out to be temptations for me? Things I perhaps overdo or get out of proportion, despite having the best of intentions?
“Do not be deceived”, James says. Not being deceived means knowing the truth about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, the influences I am under. Are there truths about myself that I sort of know, but find it difficult to face?
Hearing the passage again, I notice the goodness of God that is being described in every sentence of this reading.
Knowing that God knows all my faults and failings and loves me still, I don’t have to pretend, I don’t have to put up a front. I can speak honestly with God, and I can ask God’s help – I can ask God’s help now – to deal with whatever troubles me.