Although we may not know how, God works for our good through all things, especially rejection, suffering and death. Today we heard the rest of the twelve also think in human terms. Their reaction was not Peter’s forceful denial; instead fear gripped them: they did not understand [Jesus’] saying and they were afraid to question him.
St. James knew that some things had become usual practice among people. People had ways of doing things societies expected. Those ways were manners of doing things. Are all manners and ways of living right, healthy and good for individuals and society? No. We try to choose the right, healthy and good ways instead of those that are wrong, unhealthy and bad. Morals help us make the correct choices. Morals help us by guiding us to choose well.
With an eye on Jesus St. James helps us consider one manner and reject it: envy. Envy warps our vision. Envy works this way: A person sees the ability of other people, their possessions, talents, gifts, effort and energy as reasons to dislike both the people and their achievements. That dislike leads us to wrangle rather than befriend others. Jesus befriended even people others would not.
With his eyes on Jesus St. James got right to the point. Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? It is from the way we deal with our needs and desires. Even if I do a good and right thing—like obey my parents and superiors—even if I do a good and right thing with unloving motives, I allow envy to shape me. Its results range from disrespect and grumbling, no one hears but us, to coveting, fighting, even waging war.
- Quietly place yourself into the heart of our triune God.
- Ask St. James to present you to Jesus.
- Chat with him: praise Jesus for inviting you to walk with him as one of his friends. Thank Jesus for giving you family, friends and teachers who introduce you to him.
- Ask Jesus for grace to shape your deepest self to be more open, compassionate, patient and gentle and to have courage to befriend others.
- Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His words, on earth as it is in heaven, remind us that greedy and violent things do not need to be that way, and that each of us can spread generosity, compassion and peace.