A READING FROM THE LETTER OF SAINT JAMES: 3:16 – 4:3. The 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

 

“Beloved:

Do you want to be counted wise,

to build a reputation for wisdom?

Here’s what you do:

Live well,

Live wisely,

Live humbly.

It’s the way we live, not the way we talk, that counts.

Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom.

Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom.

It’s the furthest thing from wisdom – it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving.

Whenever you’re trying to look better than others

or get the better of others,

things fall apart

and everyone ends up at the other’s throats.

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life

and is characterized by getting along with others.

It is gentle and reasonable,

overflowing with mercy and blessings,

not hot one day and cold the next,

not two-faced.

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God

and enjoy its results

only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other,

treating each other with dignity and honor. 

Where do you think all these appealing wars and quarrels come from?

Do you think they just happen?

Think again.

They come about because you want your own way,

and fight for it deep inside yourselves.

You lust for what you don’t have

and are willing to kill to get it.

You want what isn’t yours

and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you?

And why not?

Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to.

You’re spoiled children,

each wanting your own way.”

According to Saint James, and contrary to the conviction of some, it is works, rooted in faith – and faith that gives life to works – that leads to life. It is not an either / or situation, but a both/and reality that gives eternal life. They are integral to one another and cannot stand alone. As we study the ongoing transformation of creation, we find that in spite of our convictions and confidence that we know the truth about everything; the reality is that each of us knows just a tiny smidgen of the truth about anything, including ourselves. We struggle to understand and to find meaning. It is in recognizing the struggle that we together are engaged in, that we have to admit that we are all fallible, blind and deaf, and need one another. We are connected to all that has gone before us, all that are alive at this very moment, and all that are yet to come. As much as we strive for independence, we fail to recognize our complete dependence on every single atom, every molecule and cell, every living organism. We are not meant to live in isolation from one another, bur rather in relationship. It is in relationships that we find life. It is living the nightmare of isolation and ego that we find death.

 

 

 

 

 

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