Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Do you ever feel like you’re being battered by all the people, issues, or ideas that are demanding your attention? Whether it’s the family activities, work obligations, social expectations, religious and personal values, economic and political pressures, there can be no doubt that all of us are under great pressure to give our attention and commitment to a wide variety of people and issues. It takes a great deal of stamina and wisdom to evaluate and balance all the demands that are placed upon us.
What’s our measure? How do we decide, among all the clamoring demands, which is worthy of our attention, which will bring life?
In today’s reading from the letter of James, we find a very important measure. James tells us that, "the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace."
In the first reading, from the book of Wisdom, we’re told that the "wicked" cynically seek to destroy the "just one." In the Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus chides his disciples about their poor choice in pursuing the "first place," reminding them that giving themselves for the sake of others is the best choice.
Sometimes the beliefs we cherish and the things we pursue fill us with anger and judgment about others. We become cynical and untrusting of others. We become hardened to the concerns of others and unwilling to acknowledge their sincerity. If we find ourselves locked into these feelings, it’s time to reassess our attitudes and commitments. For James reminds us that the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit nourishes peace and gentleness within us, mercy toward others, and self-gift so others can thrive. May the wisdom of that comes from the Holy Spirit guide us all.
Fr. Mike Higgins, C.P. is the director of lay formation for Holy Cross Province and lives in Chicago, IL.