Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

(James 3: 13-18; Mark 9:14-29)

On any issue today bloggers make quick judgments. They fit the elements of the matter at hand to their moral framework and come to predictable conclusions. T.S. Elliot’s lament holds truer in this ambience than when he penned it two generations ago: "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

The Letter of James finds wisdom attempting to ascertain the truth, not trying to win an argument. It proceeds in a calm, generous way that listens with credulity to all sides. Then it makes a careful judgment never overstating the conclusion but acknowledging the possibility of error. The result of research with such a process is not only a more likely apprehension of reality but also a more virtuous researcher.

We rightly see Jesus as the personification of wisdom. In the gospel today, for example, he calls our attention to the need for prayer to attain our goals. Prayer deliberately acknowledges both our dependency upon God and our willingness to submit our work to His scrutiny. At one time it is an act of humility and of courage. Along with “fear of the Lord” prayer lies at the beginning of wisdom.