Every day in the Catholic Church parishioners around the world read the same Scripture passages during the Mass – an Old Testament reading, a responsorial Psalm, a New Testament reading and a Gospel passage. I thought today’s New Testament reading from the Epistle of James was especially pertinent to our times. James is writing to Christians of course, pointing out the consequences, disorder and evil practices, of their passions, jealousy and selfish ambition, and calling them to conversion and prayer in a way that denies their passions.
Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. 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? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
As fallen creatures, we have enough troubles brought upon us and our neighbors by indulging these passions on our own. How much worse off are we having those in government incite these passions in us for their own ends.