25th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): Wis 2:12,17-20; Jam 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Homily Notes for the 25th Sunday of OT, Year B (2021): Wis 2:12,17-20; Jam 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37

·  Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. When Jesus mustered the strength to utter these words from the Cross, he meant what he said. He forgave them from the depth of his Sacred Heart and he recognized the spiritual blindness and ignorance of those who put him to death, for as St Paul testified, had they known who He was they would have never crucified the Lord of Glory.

·  This leaves us to speculate where the spiritual darkness and ignorance occurred within the minds and actions of those in leadership who were responsible for putting Jesus to death.

·  St. James offers a reasonable answer to the motive of their actions as emerging from a false wisdom that was corrupted by envy and selfish ambition that he says leads to disorder and wickedness of every kind. We know many were jealousy of the following Jesus attracted and the way his followers proclaimed him as Messiah and Son of Man, titles that implied their positions of religious/secular power were coming to an end.

·  Though the scholars of the Law and Scriptures of Jesus’ time had studied the Book of Wisdom and its prophecy about the sufferings that would come upon the Righteous One who reproached the leaders of his time, causing them to persecute him for claiming to be God’s Son and putting him to a shameful death, these leaders could not realize this prophecy was about them and was being fulfilled in the very actions they took when the persecuted and collaborated to have Jesus crucified.

·  That is quite chilling to consider, that every word described today from the Book of Wisdom came to pass in the suffering and death of Jesus and at the hands of those who knew this prophecy but could not see, due to their envy and selfish ambition, that they were making a prophecy a lived reality through their actions.

·  But those who persecuted Jesus were not the only ones who succumbed to the deadly false wisdom formed by envy and selfish ambition, since Our Lord chastised the 12 Apostles for succumbing to these same vices, rebuking them for arguing with each other about who would be the greatest among them and potentially become like the very corrupt leaders that they so scorned as they watched their rabbi be persecuted by the leaders of their faith and people.

·  Dear friends, let us humbly acknowledge that none of us are immune to envy and selfish ambition that can lead us to commit acts of disorder and evil. It is within us to become afflicted by these vices and make us spiritual blind, and even ignorant, but often an ignorance we are culpable for, if we let these vices darken our lives.

·  Fortunately, for every vice and sin there is a virtue and remedy of grace! Again, St James teaches what they are: a wisdom that is peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality and hypocrisy.

·  We are blessed that this gift of heavenly Wisdom is given to us on the day of our Confirmation as one of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but like every gift from above we must use and cultivate the gift to make it really unfold in our lives.

·  It is worthwhile pondering these qualities of wisdom that St James offers today. One in particular that could my attention this week was the Willingness to Yield. The original Greek of this phrase can also be translated as Open to Reason, of which both definitions together give us from great food for thought.

·  Willingness to Yield. Many of us are more disposed to compromise and a willingness to accept, while others are more disposed to fight and be unwillingness to accept impositions. The willingness to yield our Lord is speaking about is not being run over by other people, but being able to discern when we need to hold back our opinions and preferences to promote the greater common good while also being of right conscience to stand up for what we hold to be noble and true.

·  Open to Reason. To be open to reason is rooted in a profound sense of humility that we are prone to err and need to re-evaluate our strongly held convictions when they are put to the test. Intense outbursts of emotion and disinformation forged by public opinion as opposed to sober reflection on difficult topics and the need for reasonable judgment are something much needed in our world today.

·  Willingness to yield and being open to reason. Might we ask the Holy Spirit to bestow those qualities of true wisdom in our lives!