May 16, 2016 – Monday in the 7th Week of the Church Year
Saint for the day: Peregrine Laziosi (1260-1345)
James 3:13-18 – Psalm 19 – Mark 9:14-29
“Seek wise understanding and pray for a deeper faith.”
It’s obvious that we’re at a transitional point in our Church year. We’ve just come through forty days of Lent and 40 days of Easter and just celebrated the great feast of Pentecost which drops us back into Ordinary – or counted weeks – that will take us all the way back to getting ready to celebrate Advent! Imagine?
Today we hear about “wisdom” and faith. The powerful word from the Gospel seem to be “IF” IF you can… if is not part of God’s wisdom or of Jesus’ ability. We are continually reminded to seek wisdom as the key to our ability to follow Jesus. What is wisdom? It’s more than mere knowledge. Wisdom requires an ability to take knowledge & go to the next level. Knowledge allows me to add two and two to get four. Wisdom gives me the ability to know that ”two” is just a symbol to which we can attach meaning & arrive at a given end. Knowledge allows me to read the Gospels about Jesus. Wisdom takes me beyond the words to that place where I can begin to see Jesus as son of God. Wisdom is more than just intelligence. It is the ability to process and assimilate realities that folks without faith can only talk about but not really believe. I know that I am sitting here, in the chapel in our Priory in San Francisco. I’m reflecting on the day’s reading. Wisdom is what moves me to do this
James echoes Paul in talking about the wisdom that comes from God in that it is pure, peaceable, gentle and it bears fruits of peace. Read Gal 5:22 and the following about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Mark gives us the story of the possessed boy and the healing that the apostles couldn’t do. The father had faith in both cases but the apostles hadn’t prayed sufficiently before hand. So faith is necessary but it must be accompanied by an ongoing life of prayer. We can’t just say, “I have faith and my work is my prayer.” We need an ongoing, deep communication with God to give us the ability to confront evil in our world. In today’s Holy Gospel from St. Mark the disciples are unable to cure the possessed boy and Jesus lays it on the line in the closing words of this Gospel: “This kind [of healing] can only come out through prayer.” (Mark 9:29)
“Prayer” is the foundation stone of the structure of our journey with Jesus. Yesterday’s Feast of Pentecost had its center on the coming of the Holy Spirit – the “Power behind the throne” so to speak and it was the Holy Spirit that gave the disciples the ability to step out of their world of fear and go out to proclaim the Risen Lord. When Jesus tells us of the importance of “prayer” He is more talking about placing ourselves in the presence of God. The “words” aren’t as important as the being with God. Try just sitting quietly in your “prayer closet” and make your “prayer,” “Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!” Amen!