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Scripture Reflections - September 19
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
James 3:16—4:3
Mark 9:30-37

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

If a preacher this Sunday were to look for an image to bring with him for “show and tell,”it might be the green-eyed monster named ENVY. In the first reading, the power people are plotting to get rid of a Holy One who is exposing their evil. Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us. Like corrupt backroom politicians, they are saying, He’s a pain! Get rid of him! They plot to torture him and eventually kill him! Of course, the just one wins out in the end since, in his wisdom, he is following the way that leads to eternal life.

In the second reading for this week, St. James warns the early Christians to avoid self-seeking, envy and pleasure as an end in itself. This only leads to dissention, quarreling and war. The true follower of Jesus will seek that wisdom that leads to peace.

But what is this “wisdom” that guides us away from the evils of envy, selfishness and strife? In the Gospel, the disciples of Jesus are so busy arguing about which one is going to be greater in the Kingdom that they really miss what Jesus is trying to tell them. Even as He is preparing to enter his Passion, wisdom is found in serving others. The disciples were unable to understand this teaching, so Jesus gives them an object lesson. Placing a small child in the middle of the group, he declares that the trust and love they see in the eyes of this little one must be found in the hearts of all who would follow Him.

As we think about that dramatic teaching of Jesus, we realize how far we are from being truly child-like. We are no longer able to hear God; there are too many frequencies filling our ears. If we cannot hear the truth of His Wisdom, how can our hearts embrace it with joy and live it simply in child-like trust? May we silence our ambitions, our dissentions, and the clamor of a fearful world this week, and listen to God’s Wisdom. In so doing, we’re taking a big step toward peace.

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