26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
September 30, 2012
John comes to Jesus concerned that a person is driving out demons in Jesus’ name because, apparently, he is not part of the same group as John.
Jesus’ reply is to say that the person could only do this if he was a follower of him.
Our first reading is a parallel of this. Our Lord takes some of the same spirit that Moses had and distributes it among the seventy elders. But two were not present. They are found to be prophesying anyway.
People are shocked. Joshua thinks Moses should stop them. Moses says no! Moses tells them it would be great if all could do this.
After Jesus came, everyone who follows him does receive the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit we all receive in some portion the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, piety, and fear of the Lord.
We each receive different gifts to use in different ways. In our readings today, the people couldn’t understand how others were doing these things because they couldn’t.
Or maybe as Moses suggests, they were jealous about it.
Are you jealous for the gifts you see other people have?
Might it be better to be thankful for the gifts they have and the gifts we have. We aren’t all meant to have all the gifts. We have different gifts and are called to work together, pooling our gifts to make our world be what God calls it to be.
For instance, I know I don’t have the gift of music. I auditioned for the school choir in fifth grade and was rejected. I took lessons for the organ, trombone, guitar, and drum. It became evident that I was not gifted in any of them. I wish I could sing well but I don’t. That doesn’t stop me from singing. I always try to sing along but I know there are people who are good at singing and playing instruments for us.
And I’m good at things they aren’t. I’m standing here preaching before you. I bet most of the choir won’t what to be in my shoes. That’s ok. They don’t have to.
We each have different gifts. We should be thankful for the gifts that we do have and also be thankful that we have others around us with the gifts that we don’t have. Then, we work together as One Body in Christ.
It can be like the question is the cup half-full or half-empty. Do we spend all our time thinking about what we do have or what we don’t have?
It might be easy to thankful for the person who does the job we don’t want to do but we can also be thankful for the people who do we would like to be able to but can’t.
So where do we get these gifts anyway? We receive them from God for the Holy Spirit.
We receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and are sealed with it at Confirmation. For most of us who were baptized as babies, we don’t remember our baptism. At our baptisms, our parents promised to raise us up to keep God’s commandments and they made our baptismal promises for us.
We are confirmed when we are a little older. At Confirmation, we renew our baptismal promises for ourselves.
As such, Confirmation has been called a sacrament of maturity. But some people have interpreted this to mean that Confirmation makes us an adult in the Church.
Confirmation does not make us an adult. People as young as seven can be confirmed. When we say that Confirmation is a sacrament of maturity, what we mean is that the person has become aware for themselves about the presence of God in their live.
With that in mind we have six people preparing for Confirmation in our parish. They will be confirmed at St. Catherine’s on October 23rd. This weekend they are making their enrollment to declare their commitment to preparing themselves for the sacrament and their parents commit themselves to help. Then, we are asked as members of our community to support them with our prayers and words.