If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’
Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness
The intent of one’s actions usually is the deciding factor in allowing one to know if the person is acting in a genuine manner. This is why I believe that it is difficult for anybody embarking on a peace agreement to seek his own interest to the exclusion of others. Such an agreement will not be lasting and in fact may sow the seeds of discord that may come back to haunt others.
The Gospel of today is instructive in teaching us that it is through constant and sincere prayer that will allow us to carry out the task that God has asked us to do. The disciples were not able to cast out the devil because they did not have within them a spirit of prayer. Prayer is like the ammunition that allows us to be protected against the works of the evil one. How we can accumulate this ammunition is by setting aside time for God and allowing Him to speak to us. It is best that we find a quiet environment where we can pray for this allows us to become closer to Him. In fact, we may be able to hear his voice in a clearer manner.
With a spirit of prayer all works no matter how difficult they are will be possible, even the job of a peacemaker. It certainly is not an easy task but with the help and support of God which we have accumulated through prayer, it will become possible.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord we pray for the strength to continue your good works by staying in touch with you
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who choose to restrain their tongues.