Psalm 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11
“If the Lord wills it . . .”
The sayings of Jesus are confusing at times. Many of his sayings are straight to the point, yet others are confusing with double meanings. The apostles were continually confused by what Jesus said. They seemed to miss the point Jesus was making or the deeper meaning behind it. They appear to be slow learners, although when I put aside knowing the story and actually imagine being in the scripture scene described, I more closely relate to the apostles’ confusion. Today’s readings are similarly confusing on some level.
Mark’s gospel reading reports about someone, who was not following the company of Jesus, driving out demons in his name. The apostles missed the goodness and connection in others using Jesus’ name. The apostles appeared to be in the “we have Jesus” mode and are discriminating against those that aren’t part of their group. It’s sad to see that same attitude continue between Christians today, especially when Christians condemn other Christians for following different interpretations of what Jesus said. We can only pray that each of us take this reading to heart.
The reading from James is also confusing. Most of us have some sort of plan for our lives this coming year. If you are around seniors graduating from college, you probably have been hearing a lot of future plans. We all have been asked “What is your 3, 5 or 10 year plan?” James instructs that we should frame those future plans in the will of the Lord. Then he suggests that may lead to boasting, so you should just do the right thing. That’s confusing! The right thing to do is not always clearly apparent and many choices we make are between to options that are both good.
What I take away from today’s readings is a dependence on God. Not
a dependence to proclaim, “Look at me! I’m following God’s will,” rather
a reflective search for how God is working in choices presented to us and
bringing forth the desires of our hearts. It is confusing trying
to be a Christian in the world today. Even though we know the story of
Jesus, understanding and living the teachings in the scriptures is confusing
and challenging. Today’s readings offer us the freedom to follow
Christ and embrace Christians from other faiths because as Jesus says,
“whoever is not against us is with us.”
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