Sunday readings reflection: Whose team are we on?

Readings for Sunday, September 26, 2021

Numbers 11:25-29
Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14
James 5:1-6
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Not unlike Joshua and John, it seems just as easy for us today to spend far too much time worrying about who’s on what “team.” In both the passages from Numbers and from the Gospel of Mark, whether from envy or to protect the brand, there is a question of who is doing what to whom while not being “one of us.” Moses and Jesus, respectively, are not having anything to do with this parochialism. Instead, they teach us all a lesson–if someone is proclaiming the glory of God, they are doing what is right and we should celebrate it, not shut it down.

It is an easy trap to fall into. We want to do what is right so we join the team that we believe is the most right. Then when someone else, who hasn’t joined our team, seems to be mimicking or copying our doing right, we question their ability, their very worthiness, to do so. Without being on the “right team,” is the action truly right? The answer is that this is not a competition for rightness. Giving glory to God, telling others to do the same, allowing a just and worthy worship, is always right. In fact, my favorite line in the Catholic Mass is, “it is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give You thanks.” Note that while this is proclaimed in the Catholic Mass, it does not say anything about which religion makes this “truly right and just.”

A universal call to holiness means a universal proclamation of the glory of God the Father, the working of the Holy Spirit, and the promises of Christ. Perhaps if we are able to do so together, we do so with even greater glory.

My Lord Jesus, it is right and just to give glory to the Father through you. You have shown us the glory of God. You have offered us the path to eternal life. May we choose that path, and invite others to join us on the Way. Amen

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