Year B: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Numbers 11: 25-29
In the Gospel, the disciples come to Jesus to inform him that someone has had the audacity to heal in his name - and the person is not “one of us”. This complaint echoes complaint made to Moses when God inspired two people who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time to prophesy. Those who had been in the right place at the right time and had prophesied there told Moses that he should stop them. Not only were they prophesying - but they were prophesying in the camp - among the ordinary people who had not been given the gift of prophecy!
The old sin of “us” being better and more chosen that “them” was again rearing its head.
Jesus and Moses have no truck with the complainants. They know that the Spirit of God will move where it will and, wherever people speak or heal through that movement, then that is of God.
The desire to set ourselves apart as rather superior to the rest of humanity is a pernicious one in Christianity. It is true that we have been gifted with faith and that we are called to great work in the world. But that tendency to be suspicious of others - even of other Christians - can undermine our witness in the world. People see division and groups called to love each other bickering as to who has the right to speak about God.
Moses and Jesus did not cling to their status as men especially chosen by God but rejoiced when they saw evidence of God at work in others. As Moses said, “If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!”
At Pentecost, God again sent his Spirit and confounded people by allowing Galileans to speak a huge variety of languages. The barriers were down: what had belonged exclusively to one people now belonged to them all. No-one was ever again to be outside the scope of the grace of faith and prophecy for it was shown to be a gift to the whole world.
What does it mean for me?
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