Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice …. Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? We do not know for sure who James was, author of the letter we hear as our second reading today. But this first century close associate of Jesus makes an important point: What is in our human hearts has an effect not only on us, on our families and close associates, but also on our societies, our nations. A demagogue, a tyrant, a bully, a racist only succeeds because they tap into the negative impulses that lie within us all. The disciples in today’s Gospel were going down the path of jealousy and selfish ambition. They were arguing about who was greatest when Jesus sat them down. He challenged them to change their perspective to serving others and to being last instead of first. Thankfully they must have gotten the message because the first Christians, few in numbers and widely scattered, could never have become a cohesive community without Jesus’ model of leadership operating within “the twelve.” It is difficult being a member of communities or groups, whether large or small. What group members say and do often hooks the disorder of our hearts and tempts us either to keep silent, walk away or find another group more to my liking. Instead, the call in these Scriptures is to order our hearts according to Gospel values and then put that grace at the service of others for the sake of a common good. How am I doing that?
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia