Look to the Child

Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Sr. Marie Lucey

This reflection was originally posted in our September 14th newsletter

The Second Reading and the Gospel this Sunday pivot on questions. “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?” asked James. (Are you speaking to us in 2015?) As Jesus and his disciples began to travel through Galilee he took the opportunity to tell them that he would be killed and rise after three days. Obviously, the disciples were inattentive students, more interested in who was the greatest among them than in listening to Jesus. So when they arrived, Jesus asked: “What were you arguing about on the way?” Knowing they had been found out, they remained silent.

James and Jesus answer their own questions. In no uncertain terms, James states that the people “covet but do not possess,” “kill and envy but cannot obtain,” “fight and wage war.” They ask but “ask wrongly,” only to satisfy their passions of greed, anger, control. Today’s motivations for war and conflict are similar: desire to dominate, greed for more power, more money, more land. Jesus illustrates what true greatness is by inviting a child to come and sit on his lap. Look to the child. Be humble, without duplicity or arrogance. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me,” the Son of Man who comes not to dominate but to serve.

After so many centuries, people still resist the teachings of Jesus echoed by James. It’s hard to keep track of all the conflicts and wars around the globe. Terrorism and brutal oppression are responsible for the greatest migration in Europe since WWII. Unchecked gang violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle sends families fleeing north. Gun violence erupts and kills every day in our country. Some legislators and citizens would rather bomb Iran than accept the Iran nuclear agreement. The body of a small child washes up on a beach and we shudder for a moment. Flowers appear on one more street corner where a young person has been shot and killed. But the violence continues.

While we pray and advocate for peace, the scriptures invite us to look within ourselves. Francis of Assisi admonishes the brothers and sisters: “As they announce peace with their lips, let them be careful to have it even more within their own hearts.” Do I have the simplicity of a child? Are there tendencies to conflict and violence in my heart? What questions might Jesus ask me?

Sr. Marie Lucey
FAN Director of Advocacy and Member Relations

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Published in: on September 15, 2015 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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