Read James 1:12-18, Ps. 94:12-15,18-19, Mark 8:14-21

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God' for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one, but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:13-14)

Since the Garden of Eden, we humans have not stopped playing the blame game. Adam pointed at Eve and Eve pointed at the serpent. When we are caught in a sin, we immediately point fingers. We always believe someone else is responsible and we are not at fault.

Today, St. James challenges us with the raw truth: we are our own biggest enemies. We are often the originators of our own failures. As Jesus said in Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.”

Satan will never succeed in making us sin without our own consent, more still, our temptations are products of our own desires. No wonder they say: “Be careful what you wish for.” Desires are very powerful motivators; they shape our very lives. The truth is we are barely conscious of our desires because we fail to examine our hearts.

Start taking responsibility for your life. Stop playing the blame game. Start cleaning the inside of your cup. Yes, everyone around you is bad but change must first begin with the man (or woman) you see in the mirror. The most powerful man is not he who conquers the world but he who has conquered himself.

Take time every day to examine your conscience and you will become better at fighting temptations. The man who knows his fence is broken will be more alert to armed robbers than the man who goes to sleep without realizing he has no security.

Jesus was disappointed with his disciples because they did not understand his parable. Jesus was warning them against being corrupted by the yeast of the Pharisees (their spirituality of hypocrisy) but they assumed Jesus was talking about bread. Like these disciples, there are times we fail to understand the word of God or draw a wrong interpretation when we read. This is why we must always call on the Holy Spirit for enlightenment when we read the Bible.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see the logs each time I notice the specks in others. Open my eyes to understand your word and not be carried away by false interpretations. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Tuesday of week 6 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: James 1:12-18, Ps. 94:12-15,18-19, Mark 8:14-21).