Perils of Partiality

Year B Pentecost 15 – Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Psalm 125; James 2:1-17; Mark 7:24-37

Economic standing has always been a source of division in human society. The Wealth of Nations and Das Kapital are modern attempts to produce equality. Proverbs deals with human nature. Rather than offer a prescription to cure economic injustice, it provides practical advice. It speaks to human behaviour and warns there is accountability to a divine Judge.

This week’s Psalm is the sixth of the Songs of Ascent. The hymn expresses confidence in the Lord. It sings about oppression and trusts in God to set straight the ways of those who are crooked.

James is very plain in his letter. He spells out the danger of economic partiality. He connects it to fulfilling the royal law of Jesus’ teaching: “You should love your neighbour as yourself”. James gives an explicit warning that showing partiality is “committing sin”.

The Gospel selection enriches the previous texts. The symbolism of the poor in health being restored illustrates the teachings of James, the Psalmist, and the Wisdom writer. Those cruelly oppressed find comfort in Jesus Christ. Jesus does not limit his blessing to any race, gender, or ideology. He is the source of unity for human society.

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