The battle of pride vs. humility is a recurring theme in the Scriptures. We see it in today’s readings from James 4 and Mark 9. St. James reminds us that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” And Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
St. James also warns about being a “lover of the world.” He says, “Do you not know that tot be a lover of the world means enmity with God?” So why is it so wrong to love the world? I mean, mountains, trees, rivers, flowers, animals – I love all those things! What are we to think?
Of course, St. James and the other biblical writers didn’t mean this when referring to “the world.” It’s perfectly fine to love the things God has created. “The world” refers to things not created by God, like inordinate attachments to material things, sex, riches, power, money, fame – the list goes on and on. These are all things that the one who is of this world (the devil) wants us to engage in, because they draw us away from God. Think of it this way: in life, there are only two addresses – the world and the Kingdom of God. You get to pick which you want to belong to, but you can only choose one. Which do you choose?
Father, we choose to belong to you, and to your Kingdom. Help us not to be a lover of the world. Amen.