26th Sunday Year B, 2015. A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney, Australia. Family Prayer and a Blessing, other interesting TABS on this blog.
The Book of Numbers 11:25-29
The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied. Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, ” Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’aide, said, “Moses, my lord, stop them.” But Moses answered him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
- The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
- The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.
- R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
- Though your servant is careful of them, very diligent in keeping them, Yet who can detect failings? Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
- R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
- From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant; let it not rule over me. Then shall I be blameless and innocent
Gospel Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
At that time, John said to Jesus, “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. 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. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”
A REALHOMIE FROM FR.KEVIN WALSH
Dear One and All,
Many, many years ago, when I was a young boy….say about 5 or 6 years of age, Saturday afternoons used to be very special for us kids! Because if we had been good to our parents during the week, and made sure that we ate our vegetables at meals, we would sometimes be rewarded by being allowed to go to The Pictures!
In Australia, that is what we call the Cinema! We would look forward to watching many Walt Disney’s cartoons of Bugs Bunny, and Donald Duck, and funny movies like Abbot and Costello and Superman! It was so good! And it was all in Black and White, on a small screen! We used to think that we were so lucky, and we were! But then as the years moved on, Television arrived, and then Movies and cartoons were in living Colour!!!!!! Then as time went on, there came the stunning vision of IMAX – SURROUND SOUND in 3D!!!!! This was an absolutely amazing change from the narrow box screen at the Picture shows when I was a kid! Now, it is the all-embracing view and experience of Cinerama -IMAX-3D!!! We actually feel and sense, and see ourselves in the Movie!
By illustration, let’s imagine that our human view of the world is the black and white films of the Picture show, years back, and God’s view of the world is CINERAMA-IMAX-3D-SURROUND SOUND PLUS! We are so often limited in our understanding of God’s plan and involvement with us, because of our tunnel vision! Over the millennia, the Angel of the Lord has opened our minds to see the bigger picture, but also to be within the bigger picture!
Let’s look at the first reading today from the Book of Numbers 11:25-29. We see something absolutely astonishing, which speaks about the smaller picture as seen by us, and the bigger picture interpreted by one of the Lord’s Prophets!
Within a moment of mystical experience, the Spirit of the Lord God having rested on Moses, moved onto the seventy elders, and they began to speak the Word of the Lord immediately! It seems that two other men who were not with this larger group, were back in the camp, also received an outpouring of the same Spirit at the same time, and began to speak the Word of the Lord! To the amazement and concern of a young man in the camp, he rushed off to tell Moses and Joshua of this so called ‘unofficial outpouring of the Spirit’ on Eldad and Medad! And what was Moses going to do about it? (Let’s pause here and be curious; question? Could these two names give us a deeper understanding of those who are ready to receive an outpouring of the Lord’s Spirit? The short answer is, YES!) (Eldad means: beloved of God, Medad means: beloved one, or exemplary LOVER!) So, it seems that for a person to be a Biblical Prophet, these two meanings in the names of Eldad and Medad, give us an important clue as to the kind of inner disposition within the human spirit, which can open us to an outpouring of the Spirit! Food for thought! The same goes for us, today! Moses set them straight in their thinking, and opened their minds, by letting them see the bigger picture which the Lord God had painted for them through this incident……’just imagine, Moses said, that if all the people had an outpouring of the Spirit?’ Moses was not perturbed nor upset that Eldad and Medad had received an outpouring of the Spirit, even though they had not been formed like the 70 elders under the Mantle of Moses! The response of Moses to this issue at hand, speaks volumes of the maturity of Moses as a Biblical Prophet, and the IMAX Vision that he had of God’s work. Let’s hang on to this issue when we take a look at the Gospel for today; it will be very important for us to have this understanding under our belts, as we see Jesus responding to the questions of his Disciples about something similar.
In this weekend’s Gospel, the disciples are concerned, because a stranger is claiming to be acting in the name of Jesus! Jesus is not upset nor disturbed by this; he reminds his disciples, as Jesus reminds us today, that anyone who lives and acts in a Christ-like way, is living in the way that God wants. Not only those who bear the name Christian, but anyone of good will can reflect the goodness of God to others. Now isn’t that something? We really need to understand, own and appreciate that fact! As we saw in the first reading today, the two men in the Camp who received an outpouring of the Spirit, were not part of the official graduating class of the 70! And let’s remember how Moses responded to this fact! He did not react to it! He responded to it! Jesus does the same in this case in the Gospel today. Now, this is real food for thought for us, and we need to digest it fully!
Nearly every Sunday morning my sister and I watch a BBC 1 Programme called, Song of Praise. It is a half hour segment, and is taken from a different Church in the British Isles each week. It is a mixture of Protestant and Catholic Congregations. I must confess a weakness in my thoughts to you about this Programme. When it is a Catholic Church, I am a little happier, than when it is in a Protestant Church. As soon as the programme starts, I automatically look for the tell-tale signs of the Sanctuary Lamp, Tabernacle and Stations of the Cross to see if it is one of ours! Now, I put that down to my genetic heritage, because my immediate ancestors put their lives, literally on the chopping block in order to protect the Catholic Church against Cromwell, and his henchmen! I own that realisation, but these readings for this Sunday remind me, through this clarion call, that the Lord works also through those people and Ministers who do not belong to the Catholic Denomination. Deep inside me, I am completely overwhelmed with the goodness, the love and forgiveness being lived by these Christ like people; in truth the Lord is present in them too! I believe that I have a clinging touch of arrogance inside me to say, ‘the Lord is present in them too!’ Over time that must be eliminated from my mind! WORK IN PROGRESS!
Therefore, one special message contained in the Gospel today, is that we must be ‘open minded’ and be free from bigotry in our attitudes and actions. The bigot or extremist, is the last one to see what is happening. It is a form of blindness, and it is very destructive! We see it today, on our Television World News! It is often most evident under the appearance of Religion. It is essential, that if we call ourselves Christians, we must have an open mind and heart to all others who follow Jesus. There is a great difference between unity and uniformity. We can be very united with members of other Christian Churches, and we can worship in different ways, or have different ways of seeing and understanding things; we belong to a broad Church, a Catholic (Universal) Church. However, this does not start and finish within the entire Christian Church! If we thought that, we are being very narrow minded, just like looking at the Cinema screen in the 1950’s. We need to be IMAX people, in 3D, who due to our massive communications networks throughout the world, we can get real glimpses of God’s almighty influence, not only in the World religions who have as their core teaching, the Golden Rule, but we in many other religions too. This is not about saying that we are better than others because we are Christians, but rather being mindful that our God has unveiled His love and purposes for us in many and varied ways…..who are we to judge! By their fruits, you will know them.
How can we break down the barriers of misunderstandings between Religions? Well, it is a bit like striving and working towards Reconciliation between different races and cultures of people. Before reconciliation, comes conciliation, which means ‘meeting’. If we do not want to really talk and listen to people from other religions and cultures, we will never get near reconciliation or common understanding. We must want to understand other Religions…not in a window dressing fashion, but through solid listening, and asking good and respectful questions without any preconceived ideas that they are wrong and we are right. Unfortunately, there are extremists in all Religions, and Christianity has their fair share of them too. One only has to check out FACEBOOK to see some of the oddest, conservative and narrow minded views about God, and His Church! So many, many people in the world today think that some Catholics have all the answers, all the proper doctrines, and it is all set in concrete! What strikes me with some of these people, is that they are not SERVICE CENTERED, as Eucharistic Foot washers of the Lord! They often present as morbid people, who lack joy, and tend to appear like the Pharisees in the Gospel, who like to be greeted with special titles, and dress with longer tassels and phylacteries, thinking that this is all impressive and righteous. Then on the other side of that ultra conservative extremism, we have the secularisation and demythologisation where both the baby and bath water have been tossed out! Jesus did not come to bring us a new Religion; He came to show us the way to the Father, and the Way is a mystical experience founded deeply within the Heart of Love, and the Cross. This way to the Father is the antithesis of secularism, but intensely imbedded within the human experience of life and all its features! Look at the stirr that our fantastic Pope is creating in the world today, because of his humane approach to the Gospel, and the living out of its message? His freshness of approach, has sent shivers down the spines of many people who think that they KNOW IT ALL! And control God!
The Gospel today puts before us a challenge; do we see the importance of learning about the culture and spiritual ways of our Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as the culture and customs of our Hindu, Buddhists etc, who live in our streets, suburbs and cities? What about other Christian Religions; are we interested enough to go to Ecumenical Services, and pray with our sisters and brothers from other Churches or attend Lectures which will educate us about them? We hope that the answer is YES to both questions. There is only one drawback….”I couldn’t be bothered…” Lethargy!!!!!!!
Finally, hospitality is one of the fruits of open mindedness and welcoming people who come to our Parish Churches. It is so good to have a teams of ‘welcomers’ at Parishes; there is absolutely no substitute for the personal way, in which people are welcomed, not only with the giving of a Parish Bulletin, but the smile that goes with it. It is a tremendous sign to newcomers, and regulars, of the unique spirit of hospitality in our communities. As the Author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote: HEB 13:2 ‘Do not neglect hospitality, for through it, some have unknowingly entertained angels.’
Finally, in today’s Gospel, we see the absolute sanctity of faith = insight which is fragile, and needs to grow unhindered by people who would like to destroy it! The severity in which Our Lord speaks about this evil intervention from people, who are set upon destroying that sacred fiber between God and His people, are given a severe warning! The method that Jesus uses in speaking about those who would destroy the faith of another, was a typical rabbinical form of shock tactics to get the message over! These shock tactics underline the absolute integrity and sanctity of the gift of faith. This warning is for all times and seasons, it is appropriate for all millennia……it is one of the gravest violations against humanity and God! Faith, as small as a Mustard seed, can grow in a large tree, where the birds of the air can nestle in its branches…….
FAMILY PRAYER TIME….
Having listened to and heard the word of God, let us now confidently present to Him our prayers and petitions
- Lord, may your church be a sign of hope for all people and a symbol of love for all nations
Pause – Lord, hear us. R: Lord, hear our prayer
- Teach us compassion both in word and deed for those less fortunate than ourselves. Help us to be fully aware of the pain they suffer daily.
Pause – Lord, hear us. R: Lord, hear our prayer
- Lord sanctify the natural generosity of our young people. Give them the confidence and courage they need to make sacrifices for others.
Pause – Lord, hear us. R: Lord, hear our prayer
- Help us fulfill our civic duty by seriously considering our votes for those who have put themselves forward for local body election
Pause – Lord, hear us. R: Lord, hear our prayer.
- Lord take to yourself all those who have died that we have known, especially________ and all the dead who are known to you. Eternal rest grant to them O Lord.
R: Let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. R: Amen
Leader: Almighty God, your only Son sacrificed himself for all people. Hear these prayers and the unspoken prayers of our hearts. We ask this through Christ our Lord R Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
- The Cross
- ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
- The bread……………
- ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
- The pain
- ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
- The joy………………
- ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
- The Gospel……………
- ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
- The love…………
- ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
- The light……………
- ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
- The darkness…………….
- ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.
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