September 26, 2021 - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.”
Numbers 11: 25-29
Letter of James 5: 1-6
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
by Sister Maureen Niedermeyer, OSB
How do we value and use God’s gifts, whether spiritual or material, whether given to others or to ourselves? In today’s first reading, Joshua believes that the Spirit of God is only given to certain people. Likewise, in the Gospel, the apostles are certain that only appropriate people can drive our demons; they put limits on God’s gifts and grace. How open is my heart to hear God speaking to me from a person I have judged to be an unworthy messenger?
James speaks of how the wealthy (or any of us) can hoard the treasures we have, becoming preoccupied with our own supposed needs and comforts. How do I reach out to others in their needs for material things or maybe just the comfort of a listening ear? This gift we give can be just a glass of water given in Jesus’ name. Perhaps we can ask the mysterious ever-present Spirit of God to enlighten us and give us generous hearts. Let us pray for openness to the Spirit that moves through the Church in ever new and wondrous ways.
In the Gospel, the gravity of sin weighs in, but Jesus doesn’t call for self- mutilation. In semitic fashion Jesus exaggerates only to heighten the notion of sin. Mark also has concerns that his community will be tolerant of others and not scandalize anyone. We are to be open to all people of good will, seeing equality in various races, churches and sexes, appreciating all the different gifts that people have been given. We pray for a broadening of our vision and an open heart.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out… to see Him who has called us to His kingdom.” Prologue 21
“Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth.” (Cf. John 17:17b, 17a)