25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sept. 19, 2021

25B21.     Wisdom 2:12, 17-20.    “The wicked say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.”  “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness.”  The wicked pose a challenge to see whose wisdom will win out: the wisdom of the worldly wise vs the wisdom of those who put their faith in God.

Mark 9:30-37.  Jesus began a journey through Galilee for the purpose of spending some private time instructing his disciples.  Jesus tells them that he is to be a Messiah who is executed on the cross to free us from our sins.  Lost in the ways of this world, his disciples not only cannot internalize his message but instead concern themselves over who will have the highest position in the politics of the government that they imagine that Jesus is to establish.  Jesus rejects their worldly way of thinking by telling them: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”  Then he points out to them that those who honor and value the least ones in this world, such as a child, would be doing the same as honoring and valuing Jesus himself and likewise God the Father.  As people saturated in the ways of this world, it is a lifelong task to die to ways this world thinks and feels so to be remade and reborn into the image and likeness of Christ.

James 3:16-4:3.  Which wisdom or way of thinking should we follow: the thinking of this world that is “jealousy and selfish ambition” or “the wisdom from above” that is “peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good works?”  To grow to be a person who thinks as God thinks while we still live in a world that thinks as the world thinks is to be in an endless struggle, but always strengthened by the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  However, Jesus reassures us and encourages us to be at peace when he says in John 16:33b, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”