The Second reading on Sunday is the next passage in our semi-continuous reading of the Letter of St James.
He moves on a little from consideration of the relationship between faith and works, or may it’s that he has started to focus on aspects of our lives that we often do not consider to be work. He suggests there is nothing of faith there either!
Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
For the Christian life is work and we are called to live it all, ‘work it’ all in a way that evidences God and the love of God.
Instead, too often, in our inner life and in our life more evidently in relationship with others we find godlessness at work. Sometimes this is hidden, sometimes it takes a very visible form in conflict, of one sort or another. Either way the consequences are devastation, on a small scale or a large.
- Where in your life are you furthest from God?
- What help do you need to be healed and help others heal?
Photograph (c) REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo. Accessed here