WHY THE JEALOUSY, GOSSIPING AND COMPETITION IN THE CHURCH?|25th Sunday|Ordinary Time|Year B

A comedian once said: "one thing God detests so much is gossiping, that is why the Bible says wherever two or three are gathered...God is there with them to make sure they are praying and not gossiping." Funny, right? But seriously, is that not the case in churches and religious gatherings today? Rather than praying and enriching ourselves spiritually, we gather to gossip, defame ourselves, compete among ourselves and envy each other? After doing these, we complain our prayers are not heard, and seek justification for our wickedness.
The Lord knows these would happen and thus warns us of the dangers of turning the church into ground for unhealthy competitions, gossiping, jealousy and envy. If you wish to know read slowly...

James 3:16-4:3
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.
Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
POINTS FOR REFLECTION 
1. Child of God, the ugly occurrences in churches today did not begin now but has a long history. It was so among the early church, even among the apostles of Jesus. And so St James addresses it. He identifies the root of the problem: possessing for the sake of unbridled pleasures. We pursue wealth in order to satisfy our selfish desires. This is harfulful. If we get it, we oppress others, if we don't, we become envious of those who have and do all in our power to bring them down.
2. We compete among ourselves who is more knowledgeable or wise. We compete for leadership positions and recognition like politicians and unbelievers do, forgetting why we gathered as a church in the first place. This was the case with the apostles of Jesus: they competed for the greatest position but missed out an important point, the main reason their master (Jesus) came, which is to die and save mankind (cf Mk 9:30-37)
...they had been arguing which of them was the greatest-Mk 9:34
3. We argue, fight, envy, jealous and defame ourselves over unholy and indecent things: men fight over women and vice versa, ministers fight and defame themselves over members, and for things St Paul admonishes never to be mentioned or found among us:
Do not let sexual sin, impurity of any kind, or greed even be mentioned among you, as is proper for saints (Eph 5:3 ISV).
No wonder the Latin adage: urbi multitudine, ibi peccata! (Where there are many people, there sin abounds).
TASK: Examine yourself and see if you have unsettled or repressed feelings, thoughts or anger against someone, an idea or a leadership system. You have to accept the fact that everyone is not gifted equally and no one is indispensable. Accept your limitations with humility, work hard and pray to improve. Be patient with others' shortcomings and pray for them to be better. Let go of bitterness in your heart and be cordial with everyone. Serve God in holiness and he will deliver you from the hands of your enemies.
Pray Psalm 54 now asking God to help you overcome those (enemies) who fight you for no reason. God bless you.

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