Ordinary Time


Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

Martin Luther King, Jr. in Stride Toward Freedom, 1957


I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate. But if I’m doing the thing that I don’t want to do, I’m agreeing that the Law is right. But now I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it’s sin that lives in me.

Romans 7:15-17


Helping those in need is often easier said than done. For me, helping people who stand on street corners has always been a challenge. For whatever reason I’m skeptical to give them money. I mean, how can I trust such a person? How do I know that person will use it for good? So while my faith calls me to help and my heart says “help,” I usually don’t. In that situation, I feel the struggle Paul describes.

If I’m honest with myself, it’s not them that’s the issue – it’s me. The sins of selfishness, stereotyping, and greed get in the way of me helping, and I end up doing the opposite of what I’m called to do. It’s not that I don’t want to help; something holds me back.

In this passage, Paul describes the struggle of sin this way: the knowledge of doing what is faithful, but the inability to act it out or even doing the exact opposite.

What gets in the way of your faithfulness? Maybe for you the struggle is something else. Naming our sin is the first step in our ability to be free from it.

Jeremy Wilhelmi


Forgiving God, help me to see my own sin. Help me name it and be free from it, especially when it comes to how I treat my neighbor. Amen.


When you've planned a thing that's wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there's something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.

from “What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?” by Fred M. Rogers, 1968