SEPTEMBER 22/23, 2018
4:30 PM (SAT), 7:30AM, 9:00 AM ORDINARY FORM (ENGLISH) MASSES
Human relationships are complicated.
Social scientists tell us that all human beings need to feel love and acceptance.
All human societies demonstrate social exchange – in the form of business relationships or aspects of interpersonal exchange.
Human beings are also influenced by their peer group – that is, relationships develop ones sense of self and influence behaviors.
Positive relationships are described by psychologists as flourishing, budding, blooming, or blossoming – indicating that they are not only happy, but also show characteristics of growth, intimacy, and resilience.
Pathological or negative relationships, on the other hand, do quite the opposite. There are abusive relationships – on all levels of interaction. Dysfunctional relationships can foster co-dependency. And supposedly narcissists seek to distance themselves from intimate relationships, maintaining only superficial, self-serving contact with others.
A word which was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2010 which describes an uneasy middle-ground relationship is “frenemy.” “Frenemy” is an oxymoronic portmanteau of the words “friend” and “enemy” joined into a single concept.
It could be described as the person you love to hate or someone who pretends to be a friend so they can betray you at a later time.
Although it was only officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary eight years ago, its earliest use was in 1953 in an article by the gossip columnist Walter Winchell in the Nevada State Journal. The title of the article was “Howz about calling the Russians our Frienemies?” Yet nearly 60 years later, it still seems to be a neologism – a newly coined word.
Today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Saint James, in the second reading, provides us with a stern talking-to regarding how “jealousy … selfish ambition … [and] disorder” in our human relationships can impede our most important relationship – that is, our relationship with God almighty.
The reading from the Book of Wisdom shows that what James encountered is not unique to the first century. Written toward the end of the Classical Age, today’s first reading from Wisdom plays out the thinking and the efforts of the wicked who seek to undermine the righteous.
Sort of lends an ancient air to the early 19th century expression of “[darned] if you do, [darned] if you don’t.”
Even among the disciples there were thoughts of competition. Jesus is trying to explain the mystery of the Cross, and they’re picking out carpet patterns, and arguing about who gets the corner office in the New Jerusalem.
Our Lord’s tells them:
If anyone wishes to be first,And then uses a child as a brilliant example of this.
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.
In traditional legal doctrine, children under the age of 7 are considered to be legally incapable of committing a crime. Similarly, in Church Law, a child older than 7 is considered to be of the “age of reason.”
Jesus isn’t lionizing childishness – but rather, lifting up the example of simplicity and purity of heart. An openness and willingness to love our neighbor as ourselves. After first loving God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul. Solely for God’s sake, and love of God alone – without any thought of self.
As we approach this altar to receive the Sacred Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ – let us pray that the graces we receive in this Most Blessed Sacrament may change us – heal us – transform us into a living icon of God as fully active members of Christ’s body. May the Holy Spirit energize us to live lives worthy of our calling – so we might be vehicles of evangelization in the world.