September 30, 2018 – Pastoral Inpressions by Fr. Bill

Today’s readings provide us with some challenging truths, for they bring us directly into the reality of our life in Christ, namely that we are all one body, one family, living together in one community. As children of God we are forever connected. Although we may think we are doing things our own way, we are nevertheless continually being influenced and effected by others.
Numbers speaks of prophecy. Prophecy is a gift from God given to those called to speak for God. It is given in order to guide the people of God in living lives of faith and good works. The letter of St. James serves as a warning to those who forget about community, making their own personal wealth and prosperity the center of their lives. When in positions of power, such individuals will often use other people, treating them unfairly with both disrespect and callous selfishness. James’ letter warns of the punishment that is to come to these violators of community.
The reality of community and the responsibility each person has for the welfare of the group comes through clearly in the gospel of Mark. The gift of the spirit is what’s important here, not the person through whom that gift is revealed. Jesus emphasizes the responsibility we all have for one another and uses strong language to make the point.
The combination of the readings we have today gives us profound truths. First, we learn that all people are part of the human family, that we are all connected as sisters and brothers in Christ. Secondly, we are, in fact, responsible for our participation in the human family. We must help each other live lives that reflect and reveal God’s love. And, finally, we learn that following Christ, that is, living by Jesus’ words and example, we fulfill the purpose for which we are created. May we be mindful of our God-given role in building up community, that is, building up one another in truth and love.

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