SEPTEMBER 26, 2021 — TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
NM 11:25-29; PS 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14; JAS 5:1-6; MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Our readings this week encourage us to not only be good stewards of all that God has given us but also to rejoice in the good stewardship of others.
In our First Reading, a young man approaches Moses to inform him that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp. Joshua, who is Moses’ aide, encourages Moses to stop these men. Moses responds, Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the people of the Lord were prophets! If only the Lord would bestow his spirit on them!”
Essentially, Moses is telling his men to stop being jealous that others too have the gift of prophecy bestowed on them from the Lord.
A similar situation occurred in our Gospel as John told Jesus about someone driving out demons in His name. John explains that he tried to prevent him since this man doesn’t follow them.
Jesus responds by saying, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Eldad, Medad, and the man driving out demons were all doing the work of God. They had been entrusted with a gift and used it to glorify the Lord. Joshua and John should have responded in joy and appreciation for another’s gifts and talents.
If we apply this scenario to our modern-day lives, we might find it extremely relatable. We oftentimes look at another’s strengths as our weakness whether it be in parish life, in the workforce, or even in our own families. We are left with a bitter heart and a negative attitude when we become jealous of another. And when we view others in this light, we not only diminish their good works but also overlook the gifts God has given to them and us.
Jesus is calling us to cut out those sinful thoughts and attitudes from our lives. The next time we witness someone being a good steward of God’s gifts — rejoice! And continue to examine how you are using your gifts and talents to ensure you are being a good steward of what God has entrusted to you.
We do not want to end up like the rich in our Second Reading from St. James. “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries…You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.”
The rich in this reading stored up their riches to the point where they withheld wages from their workers! They clenched tightly to the pleasures and luxuries that the world offers and put it in front of both God and their neighbor. They misused the gifts God bestowed on them.
We must keep this in perspective as we journey on our path as Christian stewards. We do not live for this life, but for the next. We cannot take our fancy pair of shoes, newly renovated house, or our bank accounts to heaven, but we do take our refined hearts.
How do we prepare ourselves for eternal life? It simply starts with being a good steward of what God has given us. It is not bad to have those things; however, we cannot let them rule our hearts. Rather, we are called to share what God has entrusted to us.
He has given us time every day, countless talents, and numerous treasures. Are we using them for His glory?
This week when we witness other people in our lives using the gifts God has given to them, instead of becoming jealous or critical, say a prayer of thanksgiving and take time to reflect on what God has gifted you and how you can offer it to Him for His glory.