Today’s readings teach us the right things to ask from Our Lord, and the right way to ask them, as well as the wrong ones. The Pharisees in today’s Gospel are arguing with Our Lord and demanding a sign to test him. Mark says in the face of this that Our Lord “sighed from the depth of his spirit.” They could have studied his teachings. The could have taken the many miracles he had already performed as signs. Instead they demanded a sign from him on their terms. In short, they didn’t believe in Our Lord, what he was doing, or what he was teaching.
James in today’s First Reading teaches us what we should ask for and how: we should ask for wisdom, an insight into the bigger picture that helps us understand, in the light of God, the world, man, and ourselves. We always need wisdom, and Our Lord is happy to give it if we ask in faith. The Pharisees demanded a sign and showed neither wisdom nor faith. James also teaches the wisdom Our Lord wants to share: to help the poor see how blessed and loved they are, and to help the rich to see how fleeting their pursuits can be if they are not in the service of God.
Our Lord is willing to share all the wisdom we could ever want or need, if we believe in him. Let’s humbly turn to him in faith and ask for just that.
Readings: James 1:1–11; Psalm 119:67–68, 71–72, 75–76; Mark 8:11–13.