A Word from Fr. Chris
Homily: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:38-41)
I wish to thank each of you for your prayers and good wishes for my successful surgery. I am now on my road to recovery and healing. The Lord is good all the time. Alleluia!
The readings of today’s Mass have some points for us for reflection about some errors of those who are over zealous in following the Lord. It is that God gives His spirit of goodness and love to whoever He wills. The Psalm has it thus, “You are merciful, O Lord, You are kind and patient and always loving. You are good to everyone, you take care of all your creation” (Psalm 145:8-9). Some people, therefore out of pride, think that they have a monopoly on all that it takes to be good. Goodness is a virtue that comes from God, such as love, charity, kindness, forgiveness, etc. whether a person is a believer or a non-believer. Goodness transcends all cultures, wherever it is practiced, it is always acceptable by all peoples. Right?
From the 1st reading we read that the spirit that was on Moses touched on the seventy elders of the people they prophesied to Eldad and Medad were not among the seventy elders at this time in the camp but they too prophesied. A complaint went to Moses from Joshua to stop them from prophesying. Moses asked him, “Is this complaint not prompted by jealousy what if the Lord has bestowed His spirit on them to prophesy.”
Similarly, John, the disciple of Jesus also said to him, “We saw a man driving out demons in your name and we wanted to stop him”. But Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him for no one who performs a mighty deed in my name can at the same time speak ill of me”. All peoples are called to do good. Wherever and whenever it is done, it is acceptable and attracts God’s blessing and reward.
Jesus then warned them not to give room for scandal. He used a hyperbolical language, that is, an overstatement by saying, “Whoever scandalizes these little ones that believes in me, it is better that a millstone be tied around his neck and thrown into the sea”. About sin, He also said, “If any part of your body causes you to sin, cut it off, or your eyes, pluck it out, for it’s better for you to enter the kingdom of God losing them than to have them and get into Gehenna (meaning hell).” These statements are not to be taken literally but to emphasize the seriousness of sin.
Since sin or imperfection displeases our God who loves us so much, we have to do our best through his grace to avoid not only sin but also the occasions of sin.