The 25th Sunday of the Year

Wis 2:12 & 17-20; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37 (Year B)

“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.”

The Epistle of St James unflinchingly confronts one of the least attractive aspects of sinful human nature, one that we are reluctant to acknowledge in ourselves. While we might not go so far as killing somebody who does not share our views, we can undermine them by the half-truths that thrive in a climate of rumour and gossip. James goes on to say: “Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done.”

The Book of Wisdom graphically illustrates what James described as “the desires fighting inside your own selves”. Here we see, in its extreme form, what happens when we surrender to uncharitable thoughts rather than bringing them in prayer to God. “Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law.”

In his ministry Jesus was to become that just man whose gentle sanctity would provoke cruelty, torture and death. Thus he warned his disciples of the approaching conflict: “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.”

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