James 4:1-10; PS 55 Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you; Mark 9:30-37
"Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? "
Now this is the question St. James poses in today's first reading. It is an important question, not because we seem to be in a time where conflict and civil disturbance is high. Every time we turn around a new conflict is rising and violence seems to be spreading.
It is an important question because it ultimately deals with something that is near and dear to us all: unhappiness.
St. JAmes is asking us to diagnose the cause of unhappiness in our life and the lives of those around us.
Unhappiness….why does it exist.
Knowing the why can help us with a program of true happiness.
St James diagnosis the situation as follows: "you covet but do not possess. you kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. you do not obtain because you do not ask. you ask but do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."
There is the diagnosis. Study it for a while.
When we seek to please our passions unhappiness follows. We love what we want rather than loving what God desires to give.
Unhappiness stems from the inability to be content with God's plan of sheer goodness that we might share his blessed life.
Think about the first commandment: I am the Lord your God. God is saying, "I am yours and you are mine, we belong together."
Can we be content with what God desires for us? Can we let God's desire for us purify the other desires we experience along the way?
St. James says we ask wrongly and this is why we don to receive.
We seek ourselves in love rather than putting God first. We ask with ourselves in mind rather than seeking to do his will in the first place.
Rather than focus on external actions why not spend a few moments reflecting on our internal desires. Then we ask God to realign them to his plan of sheer goodness for us.
"so submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil (the one who stirs up our selfish desires)…Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…"