I looked up the word ‘wisdom’ (thanks again, Webster) and here is the meaning: The accumulated philosophic or scientific learning (not applicable in this particular Scripture)—but the rest I read seems to apply. Wisdom: the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships; good sense and judgement; a wise attitude or course of action. This all sounds good to me—I pray for this wisdom always.
I think that today’s reading from St. James is one that should be published everywhere, carved on buildings and inscribed on our hearts. His letter also contains a very clear description of how we humans operate against God’s plans for us: “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” It is our passion in ambition and in jealousy that foment conflict among us—along with greed and fear. All that you need to do is turn on the news and you will see this observation is very true.
We hear the story in the Gospel about the Disciples arguing on the way to Capernaum about who was the greatest. Can you imagine? Arguing! When Jesus questions them about the arguing they remain silent. They know; they must have known that this is not what belief in Jesus is about…
Today Jesus teaches the Disciples (and us) a lesson about living in God’s wisdom: Like St. James’ Letter He gives us directions to avoid ambition and jealousy—and thereby living a life of true service in Christ. He says: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus calls the Twelve and teaches them (and us) a lesson of living in His wisdom: “Whoever receives one child…in my name, receives me…” ‘Receiving a child’ is to give assistance to someone who may be helpless⎯and is usually unable to ever return your support in kind. It is the understanding that there will be no (earthly) payback, no investment, no (direct) return in helping someone with no resources. This, however, certainly describes what is expected of those who are baptized Disciples of Christ! To live a life in service of the helpless and powerless is to live a righteous life, to know Jesus and therefore to know His peace.
The readings today are about our stewardship of God’s generous gifts (the usage and the sharing), and all the ways we may live our lives as true believers. (They’ll Know We Are Christians by our love and by our labor and behavior.) The “reward” for true Christian acts is wisdom and peace, and more importantly: eternal life and a place at the table. For the Healing of the Nations, you must be a channel of God’s peace and wisdom, and of God’s unconditional love. Now Go Forward!
Just a Note: Here is a song about the Wisdom of God.