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With God’s grace, we live as children of God

Based on the Readings: Nm 11:25-29, Jas 5:1-6, Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Here I am, Lord!” The lessons from this Sunday’s readings are many.

The first reading is from the Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible that tells the story of Israel’s long, wandering desert journey to the Promised Land. Because of the Israelites’ complaining, God arranges to have 70 elders help Moses in the daily operations of the community. Some other members (Eldad and Medad) begin to prophesy in the community. To prophesy here doesn’t mean to see the future but to relay an inspired message from God to the people.

Joshua wants Moses to stop Eldad and Medad. Moses doesn’t consider it a problem; he knows religious authority comes from God and if God chooses to grant it to more people to speak in his name, there should be gratitude for God’s generosity.

The second reading from the Letter of James deals with social justice. He warns that early Christian community about the unjust practices of the rich who exploit the poor and cause division within the faith community. His concern is for the spiritual welfare of the rich causing the division and the victimized poor.

Today’s Gospel somewhat mirrors the first reading. The disciple John is concerned that someone outside the circle of disciples is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus responds, ”Don’t try to keep anyone who is using my name from doing good. By their good acts, they are showing their love for me. Anyone who does acts of kindness for my sake will be rewarded in heaven.” What a wonderful promise!

Again, pointing to a child, Jesus sternly warns them about giving scandal to the little ones of the world – the point being about a sinful life that causes others to sin and to lose their souls. Jesus is not talking about mutilating our body parts, but about our making good, clear choices. Jesus’s strong and powerful words and images reveal how much he detests sin that can lead to eternal damnation and even affect others because of the scandal involved.

God generously and freely offers his love to everyone. Each of us is special because he’s given us different talents and abilities to love and serve him and others. With God’s grace, received in the sacraments, we can turn away from sin and live as children of God. Following Jesus’ example we can share God’s love and goodness with others.