Mass Readings: James 5:1-6/Mark 9:41-50

Hard Sayings

Today’s readings are some of the toughest medicine Scripture prescribes. James offers a diatribe not merely about riches, but about the rich themselves. That’s off-putting when you live in the wealthiest country in all of human history. Meanwhile, Jesus’ words don’t fill us with warm fuzzies either. They’re loaded with warnings about millstones around the neck, worms that don’t die, and fires that aren’t quenched.

Why does the New Testament bring us down like this? I think this is like asking why doctors bring us down with warnings about the dangers of excessive drinking and drugs. Sin, like booze and drugs, numbs as it kills so, as author Flannery O’Connor said, “When people are deaf, you shout.” The warnings are there to pierce the fog because we need them to pierce our fog.

Prayer: Jesus, help me take Your warnings as an opportunity to grow in obedience to You.