There was a happy arrangement of texts in the Liturgy of the Word on Sunday, the 25th Sunday in Ordinary time.
The Gospel acclamation reminded of the importance of following Jesus, Light of the world, that through him we might have that light. Without faithful following we live in (at least relative) darkness:
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
anyone who follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia!
In latter part of Sunday’s Gospel we heard of those who are following Jesus physically, but who are still preoccupied with worldly, darkening, things.
After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
And immediately before we have heard from one of those who were self-important, and arguing on the road. And James has made some progress, and he knows the progress has been made by the wisdom that came from heaven. The progress has been made not by him, but by gift, but the progress in James is testimony to the power and efficacy of the gift.
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.
Wisdom, love, growth, peace are not given to us only for ourselves. Hard-won, by God’s grace and our sometimes readiness to recognise and cooperate with that grace, the gift is for sharing.
- What and where have you to share today?
- What and why do you also need to receive?
Dove of Peace from the Cathedral of Spilled Blood, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.