Homily 26th Sunday Year B: Michael U Udoekpo
Readings: Num 11:25-29; Ps 19:8, 10, 12-14; Jas 5:1-6 and Mark 9:38-43,45-48
God who gives us the Spirit,
Today we celebrate our generous God who gives us every gift, the gift of governance and leadership, including the Holy Spirit irrespective of who we are.
We see this in the life of the great prophet Moses as he lead the chosen people through the desert towards the land God had promised. The journey is marked with some difficulties and complaints from the people. And Moses had no desire to monopolize the spirit of leadership. He appointed 70 elders/judges to help him govern the people. The Spirit of the Lord came upon them. Two men who were not among the 70, Eldad and Medad also received the Spirit and prophesied to the amazement of Joshua who wanted Moses to stop them from prophesying.
The following response of Moses is worth noting:
"Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his Spirit upon them all!"
Similar incidence would be found among the Disciples of Christ who would fight among themselves to determined who was the greatest among them (Mark 9:33-37). John like Joshua would try to stop someone he saw driving out demons in the name of Christ. But he is met with similar response like that of Moses. Christ says, “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,” (Mark 9:38ff).
St. Paul's Corinthian Community had the same problem, quarreling, complaining, competing, boasting and jealousing each other. But God not only works in a mysterious ways, but has gifted each of us as he wishes. Remember what happened at Pentecost each speaking with his particular cultural dialect and tongue.How easy it is for us to envy one another or question God's generosity to our neighbors!
Through our Baptism each of us is called to be prophet and to bear witness to the Gospel. We are called to be God’s messengers in our various capacities, and dispose ourselves for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Be it in the church or in the political society at large it is this Spirit that would enable us to be charitable, loving, forgiving, or structure our communities morally and socially for the sake of the common good (James 5:1-6), the rich and he poor. God himself is the source of this spirit and He ministers it to whomever he wishes (Eldad and Medad) irrespective of the human qualities!