Blog — Rector Emeritus

Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice. 
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.”

Ever since end of the historically disastrous last Presidency, the inevitable ‘tell all books’ have flooded the market.  Each one presents the twists and turns of what happens when someone who is completely unsuited by temperament and the lack of personal integrity, and a moral center and conscience inhabits the Oval Office. 

The prevailing motif that runs throughout the vast majority of these books is a perfect reflection of the beginning of 16th verse of the 3rd chapter of the Epistle of James that is proclaimed today in our second reading:  Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” 

James goes on to speak of the prized virtue of wisdom that runs throughout both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.  Wisdom is that gift from above that is able to discern right from wrong.  It is that inner virtue that prizes integrity and a right conscience as we live out our lives.  Wisdom has little to do with educational exploits, IQ’s and academic accolades or how many degrees one may have.  The cornerstone of wisdom as James tells us is built on that which is pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits without inconsistency or insincerity. 

Sadly, the world of politics presents us with countless examples of the highly educated devoid of wisdom.  While, paradoxically, the wise are often found in places we least expect: the faithful teacher who has given her or his life to opening the wonders and beauty of this world to their students; The blue-collar worker who is grateful for the gift of each day as he labors out of love for his family; Those who populate our convalescent homes who’ve learned from the challenging experiences of life and now share this precious leaning with another generation.  

True wisdom manifests itself in lives of integrity.  Wisdom people are willing to be a living sign of that beautiful prayer, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. 

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.