Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recognising the Gifts of Others ... or being threatened by them

Twenty Sixth Ordinary Sunday Year B

Last week’s readings, if you remember, spoke of jealousy and ambition and how these things can destroy the community and our relationship with one another. Today’s readings continue with the same theme and how jealousy can also be an obstacle to the mission of Christ and of his Church.

The Church is the Body of Christ. Like any human body, it has many parts. Each part of the body has a special role and purpose. Hands are use for writing, lifting, holding and carrying. Hands are not meant for walking. That’s the role of our feet. Feet are meant for walking and not for writing. Likewise, our eyes are meant for seeing and our ears are meant for hearing. The eyes can’t say to the ears – “we don’t need you”; “we can take over your roles.” Similarly, the ears can’t take over the role of the eyes.

The image of the Body is important in understanding today’s readings. Jealousy often blinds us to the importance and roles of others. We often think that whatever we do is the most important thing. We feel that our role is indispensable. We feel irritated when others seem to be doing the same thing. When competition enters into church life, the mission of Christ is interrupted.

We see this happening both in the first reading and in the gospel. In the first reading, some of the elders that were appointed by Moses and who had received the spirit from him felt threatened by those others who had not gone through the same selection and yet received the spirit. They could not understand that God gives his spirit to whoever he chooses. God’s election of his people is totally free. His hands cannot be tied. Some people cannot claim to have a monopoly over God, or his Spirit, or the Truth. God gives himself to all. The same thing happened with the disciples of Christ. They felt threatened by another man who was able to cast out devils. They saw him as a competitor. But Jesus saw him differently. Jesus could recognize the gift of the spirit in this man. Jesus makes this important observation: “Anyone who is not against us is for us.”

We must not see each other as competitors. Rather, we must always encourage the gifts, talents and contributions of others. We can do this only if we remember that we all part of the Body of Christ. We can only do this if we realize that we have one common mission, the same mission of Jesus Christ, that is to build God’s kingdom and not our own kingdoms.

Let us examine ourselves in today’s mass. Are we an obstacle to others? Do we encourage the use of talents and gifts in this community or are we fonder of criticizing others? Are we more concerned with our own activities and projects rather than with building the community and doing God’s will?

If we have been guilty of some of this faults, if we have been jealous of others in the community, if we have been an obstacle to others, if we have failed to give encouragement, then it is time for change. We must be prepared to change ourselves and not others. This is what Jesus meant when he said: “if your hand or foot or eye should cause you to sin, cut it off.” Stop blaming others. Start taking responsibilities for the problems that we have brought to this community. Then there will be salvation for us and for the whole community.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Terms of Use: As additional measure for security, please sign in before you leave your comments.

Please note that foul language will not be tolerated. Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, and antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be removed. Violators run the risk of being blocked permanently. You are fully responsible for the content you post. Please be responsible and stay on topic.