For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t come across very well in our Gospel last weekend, and they continue that pattern in our Gospel this weekend. They complain to Jesus because “we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Notice they didn’t say “because he does not follow you,” but rather “because he does not follow us.” Clearly, their idea of discipleship is far more restrictive than that of Jesus. The fact is that Jesus had a far more expansive and inclusive view of discipleship than his disciples did. We know this because He reminds them: “whoever is not against us is for us.”
In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus’ words seem a bit harsh. He speaks of cutting off a hand or a foot, or plucking out an eye if any of these cause you to sin. Now clearly Jesus is not suggesting amputation or blinding one’s self. Rather he is reminding his disciples that we need to be aware of those things that lead us to sin, and seek to eliminate them from our lives.
Our first reading for this weekend from the book of Numbers shares the theme of the Gospel. It raises the question of who can speak/act in the name of the Lord. In this reading God shares some of the Spirit God gave to Moses with “seventy elders.” Two of those who were given the Spirit were not at the gathering where this occurred, yet they too received the Spirit. Joshua wanted Moses to stop them, but Moses replied: “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets.”
In our second reading for this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter of St. James. While at first blush this reading appears to condemn those who are rich, a deeper reading reveals that James is reminding the early Christians (and us) of the danger of trusting in wealth as opposed to God.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Limiting the people through whom God works or failing to recognize God working through certain people seems to be part and parcel of the human condition. When have you done this?
- To borrow an old phrase, what are the “occasions of sin” in your life?
- It is easy to put our trust in something other than God. When have you done this?