26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The Spirit of the Lord came upon them”. Such powerful words with such powerful results. These words could be describing many moments in our salvation history. It could be taken from the Old Testament or the New Testament. Think of the great moment of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and they moved from fear to courage. They went from hiding in the upper room to bold proclamation in foreign lands.

In today’s first reading we have a moment from the Old Testament. The people are being led by Moses. He is training young Joshua to succeed him in leadership. The Holy Spirit comes upon other leaders in the community. 70 elders of the community are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak about God. They begin to prophesy. And yet the circumstance in which God comes to them is not all the same. Two men receive the Holy Spirit in a different way from the others. Joshua does not accept anything but what he considers to be the standard way in which God works. He does not allow for exceptions. He has a problem with these two men speaking and acting in the name of God because they do not fit his preconceived notion of how it is all supposed to come together. Moses corrects Joshua. Moses teaches Joshua. Moses is older and wiser. Moses understands that God works in unlimited ways. Moses welcomes the two men as much as he welcomes the other leaders. He allows God to work according to God’s plan.

This same dynamic is happening centuries later in our Gospel from Mark. We hear today that the Apostles present to Jesus their indignation at others speaking and acting in the name of Jesus who are not “among their number”. Jesus helps the Apostles understand how God works. Jesus points out that these other men are indeed working in accord with God‘s plan. Jesus points out that if we do good in His name then we are united to Him. Jesus then speaks in dramatic terms that challenge each individual to radical self introspection, atonement, and amending of ways.

This begs the question of how we see others and how we see ourselves. First of all do we see ourselves as ministers of Christ? We may not be trained in a seminary or ordained or officially part of church leader ship, but by virtue of our baptism we all share in the ministry of Christ. We are all called to do good works in the name of Christ. We are all to be as St Paul says “ambassadors of Christ”. Is that how we see ourselves? Is that what gives direction to what we say and what we do? And then to reflect further, how do we see others? Do we allow others to also present God to us? Others may not share our faith background or approach or even understanding. However God can still certainly work through anyone. Do we allow our minds and hearts to be open to the opportunity to receive God‘s grace and blessing through any person we meet?

Today let us pray that the Holy Spirit may come upon us. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide our spiritual leaders. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide our hearts. May we re-commit ourselves to our baptismal identity and do good works in the name of the Lord. And allow others to do the same.

First Reading
Nm 11:25-29

Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!

A reading from the Book of Numbers

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
   the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
   and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.
Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
   were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
   yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
   and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
   “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp,”
   Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’aide, said,
   “Moses, my lord, stop them.”
But Moses answered him,
   “Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14

R. :

℟. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
   refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
   giving wisdom to the simple.

℟. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
   enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
   all of them just.

℟. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Though your servant is careful of them,
   very diligent in keeping them,
yet who can detect failings?
   Cleanse me from my unknown faults!

℟. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
   let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless
   and innocent of serious sin.

℟. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Second Reading
Jas 5:1-6

Your wealth has rotted away.

A reading from the Letter of Saint James

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
   your gold and silver have corroded,
   and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
   it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
   who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
   and the cries of the harvesters
   have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
   you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
   you have murdered the righteous one;
   he offers you no resistance.

Acclamation before the Gospel
Cf. Jn 17:17b, 17a

℟. Alleluia, alleluia.

Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.

℟. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Whoever is not against us is for us. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
   and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
   who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
   because you belong to Christ,
   amen, I say to you, will surely not 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 put around his neck
   and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
   than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
   into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
   than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
   than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
   where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

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