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Jesus’ dreams for us are greater than we can imagine

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice” (Jas 3:16).
 
St. James wrote these words of advice to the early Christians, encouraging them to live moral lives true to their call as disciples of Jesus Christ. He was concerned that these vices would weaken their unity by causing division between them and giving rise to even greater sins. He wanted them to be able to live in the freedom that comes from being children of God. It was a lesson he himself had to learn, and like a good father he was trying to spare his readers the pain of learning the hard way.
 
Jealousy and ambition can cause us to live our lives in our own imagination and the hope for our future. Neither one of these come from the wisdom of God nor bear fruit that will last. Jealousy and selfish ambition are born of pride and self-reliance. Like all sin, they distract us from the love of Jesus and his presence in our lives.
 
The apostles were not immune to these vices, even though they walked with Jesus day after day. They witnessed more miracles than we could ever imagine and listened to more teachings than were ever written down. It seems they should have been able to recognize Satan’s subtle tugs on their hearts; however, their own ambition and jealousy dulled their spiritual senses. The same can happen to us if we fail to keep the eyes of our hearts focused intently on him.
 
In the Gospel passage for this Sunday, Jesus confronts their sinful, selfish pride, challenging them not to waste their time debating who is the greatest. He does not want them to get lost in the distractions of the world. Rather, he wants them to find themselves in his love for them. He desired more for them than they could ever desire for themselves or even imagine. The only way for them to realize his dream for them was for them to keep their hearts focused on him.
 
Jesus’ dreams for you, too, are greater than you can ever imagine. Keep your eyes focused on him and find yourself in his love.
 
Father Walter Nolte is pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Fremont. Contact him at wlnolte@archomaha.org.