26 Sunday Ordinary Time
Scripture Readings: Numbers 11:25-29; Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
“Does God confine the gift of his Spirit to authorized channels?” That is the question raised in today’s Gospel. This preoccupation with status and confining the things of God to those who are members of an inner group is one of the most common dangers that has beset the Catholic Church down through the centuries. Clericalism tends to believe that God only works through established ecclesiastical structures. This attitude effectively disempowers the laity.We are all gifted with God’s grace; we are all commissioned to bring God’s Word to others.
“Jesus, someone outside our little circle is using your name to cast out demons. Stop him immediately!” But Jesus says, “Don’t even try to stop him. After all, he is helping us. Since he is not against us, he must be on our side.”
Today’s reading from the book of Numbers makes it clear that prophecy, the carrying of God’s message to the world, is not the special task of only a few people: “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” If only all Christians felt a commitment “to bring God’s pardon and God’s kingdom to all we meet!” It doesn’t take a theology degree or a doctorate in philosophy to qualify as a spokesperson for the Lord. It is just a willingness to share what the Creator is doing in our lives. Speaking prophetically doesn’t always mean speaking dramatically. It just means learning the humility and trust necessary to listen to God and to let God speak his word through you.
The Gospel takes this point a step further. Not only must God’s truth be spread through all of God’s people; it must also be spread by those who are “not of our company.” Vatican II recognized that there is truth in all the world’s great religions as well as in its secular institutions, for as Jesus declared: “Anyone who is not against us is with us.” We might think “Anyone who is not WITH US IS against us.” We tend to live in closed circles of people because of comfortableness, like-mindedness, and shared values and beliefs. Jesus challenges us to recognize God’s presence in a broader circle.
The work of the church is to overcome evil and build up the reign of God. To co-operate with the plan of the Creator for a world of justice and healing. Anyone who is trying to accomplish this goal of community, of the family, and the dignity of the individual and the respect for the earth is worthy of support.
Wherever we find others whether outside the camp or not who are doing good we must celebrate that. The Canadian government designated September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Today we prepare for Orange Shirt Day and encourage you to wear something Orange for this coming weekend liturgies. We welcome two indigenous persons from “Str8up” to share the action of the Creator in their lives. We will welcome Owen Pelletier and Chantel Huel. For those not able to be present in person at the Church, their presentations will be live-streamed at this weekend liturgies.