26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
September 27, 2015
Moses said, “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”
What are we called to be in this world? Are we all called to be prophets? It depends on how you mean “prophet”. We are not all called to be full-time prophets like Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah but we are all called to share our faith but we do in different ways.
One of the great thing about our faith is that it shows us that we don’t have to do everything for ourselves. In faith, God reveals to us that we are given different gifts to work together. We are not supposed to do it all ourselves.
When faced with a new task, many will ask, “What’s in it for me?” This is the wrong question. We should be asking ourselves questions like “does this help grow the Kingdom of God” or “is this what God is calling me to” or “Has God given me the gifts to do this.”
We are not created to be a bunch of individuals, each seeking our own wealth or interest. We are called to be concerned for others, to give others a ‘cup of water’ to drink.
To me, what of the great gifts of our Catholic faith is that we are not a bunch of individuals who happen to come together to sing and hear scriptures. We are united in what we do and what we believe.
In every Eucharistic Prayer there is a point where we pray for the unity of our church, including an explicit reference to unity with Francis our Pope and Salvatore our Bishop.
In the Eucharistic Prayers, we ask God to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. In the Eucharistic Prayers, we also ask God to transform us into one body, one spirit in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of the different gifts we have been given to use together as one body. All the parts need to work together to accomplish its purpose. Our purpose is not to build up ourselves but to build up God’s Kingdom. We are called to work together as a parish, as a diocese, and as a church united across the world.
With the crowds that have travelled this week to see Pope Francis this week, I see a desire in the people to be part of something larger than ourselves.
The coming together has been wonderful but it is something we should seek every day. Obviously, we aren’t going to see the Pope every day. What we can do is always be mindful of our brothers and sisters in faith, remembering that we are all one body. We are called to help all God’s children, whether they know they are God’s children or not.
As a parish, we do this with our Food Pantry, our thanksgiving and Christmas programs for those who are poor. We do it with the items we collect for Catholic Charities. These are ways we address people’s physical needs but we must also help them in their spiritual needs.
We do this with our celebration of Mass. We do this with our Family Based Religious Education and youth ministry programs. We do it with our Adult Faith Enrichment series, the CD’s, and my presentations. All of this is to help each person grow in faith.
We do not do this alone. We are part of a diocese, specifically the Diocese of Rochester. We are united under Salvatore our Bishop who leads us in our mission. The diocese supports us in our own endeavors with things like free technical support on our computers and administrative support to handle the business end of things. They support us in our faith formation programs, especially right now with redesigning our sacramental preparation program. All this support comes with a cost.
Of course, it is that time of year when we start our annual Catholic Ministries Appeal. If we think of the appeal as the diocese billing us for their services we have missed the point (of everything I just said). The appeal is not about the money. The purpose of the appeal is to provide support for the mission we are all called to.
Many of you probably have already received your letter from the bishop. I received mine on Thursday and made my contribution online.
Our goal this year is $58,542 and I will say this will be very difficult to meet. I raised my contribution $30 more from last year. What can you contribute? Some people give $10, some people give several hundred dollars. Every dollar is important and makes a difference towards our mission. The theme this year is We Are All One Body. May we always seek to be united in our mission as one body.