Sometimes, the old-fashioned language and complex theological concepts of Scripture can make the Bible difficult to understand. Not so with the Letter of St. James, which has been appearing in the lectionary this week. I love the plain way James lays down the law, challenging his readers to treat those on the margins of society with honor and dignity. My initial response to today’s first reading was, “Right on, James. You tell those hypocrites who judge others based on wealth or appearance.” But I must hold up the passage as a mirror: How am I doing at loving the poor? Would James see my daily life choices and think I was living the Gospel? Am I really what Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, called a “man for others”? Perhaps sometimes, but not as consistently as I’d like. I still waste food and money, I turn away from a beggar at the subway station. The challenge of St. James is a stark one for all of us.