News & Events
Back The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Friday, September 24, 2021
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
Thomas a Kempis, in his book “The Imitation of Christ” once said: “Man proposed but God disposes.” No matter how many plans we make for our lives, God always has the last word. Among many of my Sudanese friends they would reply in Arabic: Inshallah! If God wills it! Thus, we have the story that takes place in the first Biblical lesson from this week’s Lectionary.
Our first lesson comes from the Book of Numbers which is part of the Hebrew Torah; the first five books of what we call the Old Testament. The book derives its name from a census or a counting of the people project that takes place both at the beginning and toward the end of the journey of the Chosen People in the wilderness of the journey in the desert; Chapters 1 & 26. It continues to tell the story that was begun in the book of Exodus from the end of their encampment at Sinai to their arrival at the border of the promised land.
Chapter eleven takes up the story of the chosen’s people’s discontent with God and with Moses’ leadership. Moses admits that carrying responsibility for so many people is “burning him out!” It is recorded that the Lord provided a solution to the problem by telling Moses to assemble seventy of the elders with whom God will share His Spirit so they will be able to assist Moses in his many tasks with the people. Lists of candidates are made and seventy join Moses at the meeting tent for the prayer. The Spirit comes upon them all and they begin to prophesy. Two others, whose names were on the list but didn’t make up the seventy at the meeting tent began to prophesy in the camp. The youth Joshua, Moses’ assistant, wants to stop them because they were not gathered with the original seventy candidates. Moses’ reaction brings home the teaching of the lesson. “Moses answered him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the people of the LORD were prophets! If only the LORD would bestow his spirit on them all!’” (Numbers 11:29).
These events are mirrored in the Gospel passage assigned for this weekend from the Gospel of Mark. In this context another person is using the name of Jesus to cast our demons. This causes John, the youngest of the twelve to comment: “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’” (John 9:38-40). Jesus expands the understanding by further insisting that: “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” (John 9:41).
In these passages we hear echoed the same advice mentioned above. “Man proposes but God disposes!” We often are surprised by the inclusiveness of our God and even may feel a bit threatened by God’s generosity. No matter how much we try we cannot put God in a box. God will always break free to love better than we can. That is why God is God and we are not God. There truly is a “wideness in God’s mercy.”