6th Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 15:2-5; Mark 8:22-26; James 1:19-27
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you. (James 1:21)
James’ writing is peppered with vivid metaphors. Images like surf being tossed by the wind, mirror gazing, and ship rudders all illustrate his teachings on discipleship. Today’s first reading is a prime example as he urges us to “humbly welcome the word that has been planted” in our hearts (James 1:21).
What’s so special about God’s word? Where is the grace in it? Well, it was by his word that God brought everything into existence: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). It was his “all-powerful word” that sprang down from heaven to bring God’s justice on the earth (Wisdom 18:15). And it’s his word that has the power to save our very souls (James 1:21). No wonder we ought to welcome it!
So how do we do that? Before you invite a guest into your home, you usually make sure that your home is clean and uncluttered. Similarly, James urges us to get rid of the clutter of sin in our lives: “Put away all filth and evil excess” (James 1:21). In humility, repent before the Lord of ways that you don’t honor him. James pointed specifically to ways of relating to other people that are characterized by impatience, anger, or harshness. Repenting, or “uncluttering” ourselves in this area, can help create an open and welcoming environment in our hearts—exactly what we need for the word of God to take root in us.
Welcoming God’s word also means spending time with him, just as we would do for houseguests. It means taking the time to be with him so that his word finds a home in us.
When we welcome God’s word in this way, we find that it has the power to redeem and transform our souls—that part of us that thinks, feels, imagines, and desires. You can almost sense this happening at times when, while praying or meditating on Scripture, you experience the Lord giving you peace or softening your heart toward someone or filling you with a desire to share his love with someone else. Devote an allowance of time every day just to sit with the Lord. Then look for opportunities during the day to be with him and “catch up.” It’s during these times together that you can really sense his grace blossoming within you.
“Jesus, I welcome your grace within me.”~WAU