First Reading: Numbers 11: 25-29
Psalm 19: 8, 10, 12-14
Second Reading: James 5: 1-6
Gospel: Mark 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48
Both the first reading and the Gospel talk about the disapproval of strangers ministering in God’s name. In the first reading, the two men who were prophesying had not been present in the tent when the others were anointed with the Spirit. In the Gospel, John told Jesus that strangers were driving out demons in His name. Both Moses and Jesus, in their own situations, calmly replied that God’s Spirit is present in everyone…and everyone can be instruments of God’s love.
This message about the universal love of our God is not always easy to hear and accept. It is easy to be afraid of the unknown, and to question people who are not familiar to us. As humans that may be difficult to accept and act upon but that is our goal as followers of a loving God. Our God calls us to accept everyone and challenges us to believe that each can be a prophet leading us to truth.
Creator God, thank you for your generous and ever-present love. Help us to realize that all people are yours and that you love each of us unconditionally. Continue to remind us that your Spirit will fill our hearts with Your love and hope as we embrace those who are strangers. We ask this, confidently, in your Son’s name. Amen!
Mary Beth Gianoli, OSF