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June 1: St. Justin, Martyr

Reading 1 Peter 4:7-13
Gospel Mark 11:11-26

“...forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance....”

Saint Mark, in composing the Gospel passage that we hear today, uses a literary technique to show the meaning of faith. He takes what would seem like two different scenes—Jesus cursing the fig tree, and Jesus confronting those who profane the Temple—and combines them in order to form a single passage, in which one illuminates the other.

The purpose of the Gospel as a whole is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. In this particular passage, the good news is that placing faith in Christ produces miraculous fruit in our lives.

The Good News of Jesus stands in sharp contrast to the messages of self-fulfillment that the world tries to preach in so many forms. Therefore, the four evangelists use images of contrast in order to convey the Gospel. The withered fig tree is an image of those who have no faith, such as those who profane the Temple. Such are those who live by the standards of the world.

We are called, however, to make an act of faith in Christ Jesus. Today we recognize especially the first step involved in such an act, declared by Our Lord in the last sentence of today’s Gospel passage: “When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your faults.”