September 26, 2021
Sister Evangeline Salazar, OSB reflects on the scripture readings
Numbers 11:25-29, James 5:1-6, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
In the first reading, we are given insight into those who are in the “in group” and those who are in the “out group.” Because we belong to the unredeemed group of human beings, we believe God is always on our side. In the time of Moses, seventy elders were given the Spirt to be prophets. Two of these men were not present at the time the message was delivered; however, they went ahead and prophesied. The “in group” didn’t like this so they complained. Moses’s response was to squelch the complaint.
The story is repeated in the Gospel. John complains to Jesus that someone is driving demons out of the afflicted. What does Jesus say? If a good thing is done in the name of God, it doesn’t matter who does it.
Sides. In his commentary, George Smiga puts it this way: God’s side is always larger than our side. We do our best to separate good from bad, people we trust from people we don’t trust, those we identify with from those we push away. Making such decisions is necessary. We are required to use our best judgement to guide our lives. However, once we have grouped all the people, we believe are good and trustworthy, as believers of Jesus Christ, we must come to the realization that God has a bigger picture. God sees goodness that we do not see.
Once we realize and accept God’s vision, we must try to understand and commit ourselves to listen to those we believe are wrong. We need to try to understand those who wear a mask and those who don’t, those who get vaccinated and those who don’t, those who believe everyone has a right to vote and those who don’t.
I believe God is calling us to be on the side of openness, to listen to one another with a caring heart, and to work towards one vision. God’s vision. It won’t always be easy but try we must if we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ.
Towards the end of this Gospel passage, Jesus talks about the children. The importance of children, their innocence, their openness, and their delight in all things beautiful. We are called to be open like children and we must be protective of children.
No sides except God’s side. Open and innocent like children, that we may be one in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.