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The Word Among Us

Meditation: Numbers 11:25-29

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets!” (Numbers 11:29)

Moses had it right. Joshua was upset that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the Israelite camp, but Moses couldn’t have been more pleased. As far as he was concerned, when it came to finding voices to speak God’s word to the people, the more the merrier!

Even today, God says: “Oh how I would love for each of my chil­dren to be a prophetic voice in the world.” Let’s be clear. It doesn’t take a theology degree or a doctorate in philosophy to qualify as a spokes­person for the Lord. It just takes a humble and contrite heart, an open­ness to hear God’s voice in prayer, and a desire to share what God tells us with others. You don’t need to be an eloquent speaker, and you don’t need to have every element of the Christian faith perfectly mastered.

But what does God want me to say? That’s something we can discover only as we pray and immerse ourselves in his word. He may move you to stand up for mar­riage, for purity in relationships, or for the unborn. You may feel prompted to listen more than you speak: to listen closely when peo­ple share struggles and difficulties, so that you can pray for them. Who knows? If they seem receptive, you may be moved to share with them about God’s love and about his pres­ence. Maybe they will let you pray with them right on the spot. Or if you are in a situation where the con­versation is drifting toward gossip or negative comments, you may feel a nudge to steer it back to a more uplifting topic.

In other words, speaking prophet­ically doesn’t always mean speaking dramatically. It just means learning the humility and trust necessary to listen to God and to let him speak his word through you. Remember, it doesn’t all depend on you!

“Jesus, give me a listening ear and a willing tongue. Give me courage to speak as opportunities arise. Open the hearts of those I meet today to receive your word. May everyone come to know you more!”

Psalm 19:8, 10-14; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

1. In the first reading, Moses responds to Joshua’s concern by saying: “Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!” As baptized Catholics, the Holy Spirit dwells in each one of us. Share any personal experiences when you have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. What steps can you take to allow a deeper work of the Holy Spirit in your life?

2. The Responsorial Psalm reminds us that rather than being burdensome: “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart,” as well as “refreshing the soul,” “giving wisdom to the simple,” and “enduring forever.” In what ways is this contrary to the current thinking in our culture? Where in your life have you been surprised when, by following God’s precepts instead of your own desires, you experienced joy, refreshment, and wisdom?

3. St. James, in the second reading, expresses his concern for justice and warns against the behavior of those who would cheat, demean, or dehumanize others. This theme was also of great concern to Pope John Paul II. What can we as Catholics do to promote a “culture of life” in our country, rather than a “culture of death?” What are some ways you could reach out to those who suffer injustice and are alienated?

4. In the first part of the Gospel, Jesus admonishes his disciples (and us) to be tolerant of all who serve him and believe in his name. This includes how we view and treat Christians who are not Catholic. What steps can we take as Catholics to foster unity with other Christians?

5. In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus warns us about behavior (words, actions, omissions) that might cause others to sin. What are some steps you can take to improve the kind of example and model you are as a Christian to your family, your neighbors, or your co-workers?

6. In the meditation, we hear these words: “speaking prophetically doesn’t always mean speaking dramatically. It just means learning the humility and trust necessary to listen to God and to let him speak his word through you.” Do you believe that God desires to speak his word to this broken and darkened world through you? Do you believe that God wants you to be a prophetic voice to others? If not, why not? If so, in what ways?

7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to give you a “listening ear and a willing tongue,” and the courage to speak his word when necessary. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

43 posted on 09/30/2012 3:51:32 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim


(A biblical refection on THE 26th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – 30 September, 2012) 

Gospel Reading: Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48 

First Reading: Num 11:25-29; Psalms: Ps 19:8,10,12-14; Second Reading: Jas 5:1-6 

The Scripture Text

John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon after to speak evil of Me. For he that is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. (Mr 9:38-43,45,47-48 RSV) 

The apostles had been debating about who was the greatest when they came upon a man casting out demons in the name of Jesus. Immediately they rebuked the man who “was not following us” (Mk 9:38). Isn’t it interesting that they were more concerned about this man Jesus was? After all, if the fellow was using Jesus’ name but wasn’t following Jesus, there was no guarantee that he was accurately representing Jesus at all!

This is what’s so amazing about Jesus. His desire is simply that everyone receive Him and live in the power of His life. He isn’t concerned about establishing an exclusive club, but about gathering a diverse group of people together and building them into one body that would rejoice in the grace and freedom of the Father.

Moses met with a way of thinking similar to the apostles’. One day as, as he gathered a group of men whom he had chosen to be elders in Israel, the Spirit of God fell upon them, and they began to prophecy. At the same time, two men who were not with Moses received the Spirit and prophesied as well. Joshua demanded that they be stopped, but Moses replied, “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets” (Num 11:29). Again, we see God’s simple desire to touch everyone. 

Today, let’s bring our hearts to the Lord and ask Him to free us from any sense of pride or divisiveness against our sisters and brothers in Christ. Let us now ask Jesus to fill us with a deep appreciation that His Church is filled with so many diverse people and so many different gifts of the Spirit. God is not limited in His generosity in any way. To some He gives the grace to intercede, while to others He gives a heart to reach out to the poor and needy. Many pursue the study of Scripture, while others have a gift of healing or discernment. So many differences exist, but one unified truth runs through them all: We are on body built on the tender mercy and love of Christ. And we can stand together to worship the Lord.

Short Prayer: Holy Spirit, come and deliver me from anything that blocks the unity that You desire for Your entire Church. By the power of Jesus’ cross, break down all dividing walls in the body of Christ so that the world may believe! Amen. 

44 posted on 09/30/2012 3:58:23 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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