The 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: September 19, 2021
THE WEAKNESS OF WICKEDNESS (Wisdom 2:12, 17–20)
For churchgoers who strive to do what is right, it is hard to understand why some people strive to do what is wrong. But those people exist. They steal to support a drug habit. They hack websites to cause confusion. They lie. They murder. They have no respect for human life.
Evil people have been around throughout the history of the world. Jesus predicted that His life would end in their hands. Jeremiah faced them in his ministry.
Jeremiah overheard the collusion of the wicked. They targeted him because he was just, and righteous people were obnoxious to them.
Whenever the just reproach the wicked, the two sides grow further apart. The just become more just and the wicked conceive more wickedness in retaliation.
To the untrained eye, evil people often seem to win. They achieve the wrong they try to do.
But to eyes of faith, the wicked never win. Agents of death and destruction, they are eternally conquered by the God of might.
Jeremiah did not live to see the final victory that Jesus achieved over death. Jeremiah lived to see revilement.
In the light of the Resurrection, we know now what prophets only hoped for: that wickedness can never overcome what is good.
WAR AND PEACE (James 3:16—4:3)
A world without wars would be a great place to live. How we yearn for days of peace, when killing stops and soldiers come home.
But peace is not just the absence of war. Peace is the willingness to share from our abundance, to sacrifice for the needy, and to advocate for justice throughout the world. To achieve peace means more than laying down weapons of conflict. It means taking up the tools for a better world.
“Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?” asks the Letter of James. “Is it not from your passions?” Jealousy and selfish ambition bring about disorder and every foul practice, James says. Habits of self-absorption lead to indifference toward others. That breeds resentment and foments conflict.
We covet what we do not possess. Some with envy even kill others, but they still cannot obtain inner happiness. Many of us are not content with what we have; we want more income to buy more things. But we do not supply the needs of others. We are too busy feeding our own passions. And they will never satisfy.
Peace comes from God. And it can start at home. It comes from the willingness to do with less, to eliminate jealousy, and to promote mercy. That will make the world a great place to live. “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”
Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year B© 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.