In today’s First Reading James encourages us to choose the wise path and not the selfish one. The wise path starts with wisdom, an understanding of the big picture, humility, an understanding of our role and place in the grand scheme of things, and a life of good works that reflects that we’ve understood well and lived truthfully. The selfish path starts with jealously, a resentment and bitterness over what others have and we don’t, selfish ambition, seeking our own interests with no regard for others’, and an opinion of ourselves and our accomplishments that doesn’t reflect the truth, showing our lack understanding.
We’ve all known people who’ve chosen both paths, but James encourages us today to consider which path we’re on and whether we need to be more wise, through humility, and less selfish. That requires considering which path attracts us and is truly best for us and for others. We resist humility, gentleness, and peace when we see others striving to take it all with impunity, but we know in our hearts that peace and gentleness irradiate a serenity and goodness that would make even the most jaded ambitious person reflect on what he or she truly wants out of life.
We know the path to take. Let’s ask Our Lord to help us take it today and stay on it “without inconstancy or insincerity.”
Readings: James 3:13–18; Psalm 19:8–10, 15; Mark 9:14–29. See also 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.