XXVI SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
numbers 11:25-29; james 5:1-6; mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
a few years ago, during cricket australia’s tour of india, matthew hayden was not in the one-day international team, and was to return home after the tests. but he performed brilliantly in the tests, and the selectors added him to the one-day squad. some argued that he shouldn’t have been included because he wasn’t in the original team. but for team australia it didn’t matter that he wasn’t it the original team. what counted was that hayden was a good player in good form; they didn’t stifle hayden or his form… and it paid off.
this is a sound principle to build the team for the kingdom of GOD: it shouldn’t matter whether or not one is part of the «original team». the only criteria: how good is a person and is GOD’s spirit in him/her? the kingdom is not an «exclusive club» with a no-entry sign; it sports an «everyone’s invited» board!
the sunday liturgy invites to recognize that GOD’s spirit works in all people of good will, and to co-operate with it.
in the first reading, joshua asks moses to stop eldad and medad from prophesying because they were not part of the «in-group». in the gospel, JESUS’ disciples tell him that they told a man driving out demons in his name to stop because he was not one of them.
the answers of moses and JESUS are instructive! moses tells joshua: «would that all the LORD’s people were prophets.» JESUS tells john: «do not forbid him… for he that is not against us is for us.»
moses and JESUS taught their followers to recognize GOD’s work within and outside the immediate community; kingdom work is not reserved to a few chosen ones, but is for all people of good will.
the world is saturated with GOD’s spirit.
do i look at the church as an exclusive club? can i open my eyes to the good that others do and recognize GOD’s spirit working in them? do i recognize the way the spirit moves in my immediate family and community?
may i cooperate with (and not stifle) the spirit and every person doing GOD’s/good work.