(Audio recorded live, 26 September 2021)
Nm. 11:25-29; Ps. 19; Jas. 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Today, we are given several strong words to live by. First, by Moses, who, upon hearing that the two elders were prophesying in the camp, says, “Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!” Second, by Jesus, who says, “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” And lastly, there is St. James, who condemns the rich for exploiting the workers. To them, he says, “You have stored up treasure for the last days.” But, what good will their treasure be when it is full of corruption and rot? He says, “You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.” This passage from the Letter of St. James is a prediction of the end time.
The Church teaches about the end time by focusing on the four last things: Death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Catholicism, as opposed to many other religions, starts at the end and works forwards. In other words, we focus first on the end so we know how to live today. What St. James is speaking about is how not to live. So, he offers us a judgment of what is in store for those who fail to accept the Spirit of the Lord. No amount of riches on earth can buy eternal life.
When the seventy elders were filled with the spirit of the Lord, they prophesied, even in the camp. This is a sign that there are no limits to the indwelling of the Spirit. No one can trap the Holy Spirit in a tent, or Temple, or a city, rather, the Holy Spirit is like the wind that blows as it wills. This indwelling of the Spirit can be seen in those who were casting out demons in Jesus’ name; this indwelling of the Spirit can be seen in the disciples, who cured the sick and proclaimed the Good News; this indwelling of the Spirit can be seen in all those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
How many times have we recognized the Spirit working in others? Think of all the doctors and nurses that have worked tirelessly to heal people, or those family members who pray for one another daily, or the many acts of kindness and charity that flow out of the hearts of others. All these are signs of God’s love active in the hearts and lives of people. And we are those people whenever we open our hearts to the Spirit of the Lord: “Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!”
So, as we continue to reflect on the importance of letting go of riches to embrace ultimate reward of life eternal, let us stay focused on the needs of others. Many people are hurting these days and it is up to us to build them up. We can help them find peace in the Lord provided we embrace that peace ourselves. May the communion we share give us that peace so we may share it with others.