September 27, 2015
People can be narrow-minded or broad-minded. A narrow-minded person restricts one’s own outlook. Whereas a broadminded person accommodates and makes allowances for others. The readings for today’s liturgy presents both types of people to make us understand the importance of a broader vision of life. It is a good lesson, very useful and practical.
The first lesson from the book of Numbers (11:16-17, 25-29) shows how Joshua reacted when he saw two men who were not in the tent prophesying in the camp. During the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, Moses was overburdened with the responsibility of leading the people. So God told him to choose seventy people to help him. While those chosen people were in the tent they received the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy. Two of them, Eldad and Medad, were outside the tent at that time. They also started prophesying. Joshua considered it objectionable and requested Moses to stop them. Moses had a broader vision of God’s goodness. He did not resent others prophesying nor was he jealous of God’s gift for others. Moses responded saying that God’s generosity is unlimited. God cannot be contained in one place or within certain people alone.
A similar incident occurred with Jesus and his disciples. (Mk. 9:38-48) The disciples, seeing that someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name, complained to Jesus asking him to stop them. The response of Jesus was similar to that of Moses. “Do not prevent him.” No one does good without the spirit of God. Anyone who tries to prevent growth of goodness, even in little children, is working against the Spirit of God. Such persons deserve severe punishment. Therefore, one should take all precautions to avoid the cause of sin.
St. James in the second reading (5:1-6) emphasizes the importance of justice for all. In not doing justice one is depriving others of their right and committing grave sin. By appreciating the goodness of others and exercising justice one lives in the presence of God.