Local Homilies

February 24, 2020

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 341

Reading 1 Jas 3:13-18

Who among you is wise and understanding?
Let him show his works by a good life
in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast and be false to the truth.
Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above
but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For 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.

Responsorial Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R.    (9a)  The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Alleluia 2 Tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you?  Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

James 3:13-18; Psalm 19:8,9,10,15; Mark 9:14-29
In the world is this tension between the wisdom from above and the wisdom from below. Their presence is felt through the fruits that they yield.
▪The apostle James challenges us to show our wisdom and understanding through actions. The fruit of the wisdom from above is marked with good life expressed in humility. The wisdom from below is demonic and unspiritual. This is why wherever this kind of wisdom is present, the following will be present: jealousy, selfish ambitions, disorders and foul practices.
▪If what the Psalmist said is true that “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple,” why are we struggling heavily under disorders and foul practices? It is because we combine both the wisdom from above, by identifying ourselves as children of God; but controlled by the unspiritual wisdom of this world.
▪Driven by the wisdom of the world, we work harder to achieve great results where God is sidelined. We are in an era where success can be achieved at all costs. What matters most to the world is the result and not the means to the results. People kill others, cheat, destroy other people’s chances, betray the trust of others and consider themselves wise. This selfish attitudes cause disorders in our societies.
▪When the child possessed by the demons was brought to the disciples, they were unable to cast the demon out. Why? They were guided by the wisdom from below. When the wisdom from above came down, the demon departed. We cannot defeat the challenges we face in the world with the same wisdom of the world. We must apply higher wisdom to overcome the world. This wisdom comes from prayer and faith in God.
▪Dear friend, if our actions lead to disorder where there is peace, we are unspiritually controlled by the wisdom of the world. If our words do not lead others into wisdom and growth, we have to change for good. If we deceive people, remember that it is because we are weak in sincerity and not because we are smart. May God help us to grow in greater wisdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Let whatever you will do this week inspire someone to do something good. Only through this will the wisdom from above overcome the darkness of the world.
May God bless us this week with wisdom
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam

Blessed Sacrament Parish Stowe and Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish Morrisville, Vermont, USA