Sunday, September 23, 2018
Today, in Mercy, our Sunday readings each address, in some way, the motivations and judgments of the heart.
Most of us are good people, or at least we want to be. But life can still get us mixed up in situations and decisions which test our character and challenge our moral fortitude. A few characters from today’s readings seem beset with such dilemmas.
The voice within the Wisdom passage belongs to a hard-hearted and jealous person who finds the just person obnoxious. The speaker can’t stand being shown up by the good man’s character. It challenges his comfortable, self-absorbed existence.
In our epistle, James gives us the powerful admonitions, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” He tells us that our hearts should be filled instead with the wisdom from above, yielding peace, gentleness and Mercy.
When I watch the news, or observe the day’s political dramas, I long for the honest, sincere and decent world James describes. I long for a world where we respect and honor each other beyond politics, gender, color, nation, religion, and sexual orientation – for a world where we make choices FOR one another, not against.
How can we help realize a world like that by the choices we make in our personal lives? How can we minimize the jealousy that is born of self-interest and prejudice?
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us the way. His disciples are busy trying to figure out which of them is the greatest, missing -as they so often do- the whole point of discipleship. Jesus is gentle with them. He tells them to look at a little child. There they will find what is most important – in simplicity, vulnerability, openness, innocence. They will see that this is the way Jesus is with them.
If we can approach and receive one another with just an ounce of such selflessness, we might begin to change the world.
Music: Ubi Caritas ~ Taizé Community
Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.
Where there is charity and love, God abides.