Weekly Reflection: Learning Jesus' Way

By Fr. Mike Boutin

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.  (taken from Second Reading, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, James 3:16-4:3)

Click here for a folk song about peace.

I was waiting in line at the grocery store to check out. It all seemed innocent enough to me: this young sweet cashier asked the customer in front of me a rather benign question: "Paper or plastic, sir?" 

And then he pounced on her like a lion waiting for the kill...He screamed at her about her work ethic, her age, her hair color, how she forgot to ask him about coupons....it was one of those really uncomfortable moments for everyone standing there to watch, except of course for the man who was causing the scene...

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure....

I got in my car and drove home...I was minding my business, stopped at a red light. It changed, the older woman in front of me apparently didn't react quickly enough, and suddenly, she found herself face to face with a single digit salute and a string of epithets that even a trucker would have been embarrassed by as a young driver sped by her....

The wisdom from above is peaceable....

I got home and read some emails....including a couple that questioned a recent blog posting and my theological and political positions...I started to respond as I took up my poison pen and began to write a scathing response....

The wisdom from above is gentle and compliant....

If it were as easy as it sounded...

We live in a world that isn't exactly comfortable with turning the other cheek.  Instead, our world seems to ascribe to the philosophy of "make sure you get the first punch in," even in the world of words....

But Jesus' way is a different one.  His way, and our way as His disciples, needs to be the peaceable way, the non-violent way, the way that puts others first, and us last.  However, it's not the easy way....

It's not easy to ascribe to the wisdom from above when your kids are mouthing off to you again...

It's not easy to walk in the ways of gentleness and peace and compliance when your step-mom orders you around again...

It's not easy to be a peacemaker every time your spouse loses her/his patience with you, or your boss is overbearing and demanding, or your aged parent tells you the same story for the fourteenth time....

But then, it wasn't exactly easy for Jesus, after being beaten, and stripped naked, and spit upon, to pray: Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing...

Now pray for peace...then work for it....

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