26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sept. 30, 2012)

Sunday’s readings are a great reality check for us. In our world right now, there is a tremendous focus on “us vs. them.” We have Christians and Muslims, Palestinian and Israeli, Hispanic and black, Dem and GOP and Tea Party, the haves and the have nots (or the 49% vs. the 51%), native-born and immigrants, conservative and liberal (whatever those mean), and on and on and on. Of course, “we” are always right and good, while “they” are bad or evil people.

It all comes about because of fear and jealousy. In the First Reading, Joshua is upset at two people who are prophesying. Why … because they were not where they were supposed to be when the Spirit was given to the elders. But rather than silencing the twosome, Moses wishes that all were recipients of the Spirit.

In the Gospel, John is bent out of shape because someone not of their band was driving out demons. And Jesus replies: “Do not stop him.” His reasoning: anyone who does good, anyone who gives life to others, anyone who loves deeply and well … those people are doing the work of God. The distinctions that are so important to us are simply not important to Jesus.

We all need to understand that God does his work through all kinds of people. Wherever there is caring love, there is God. Wherever there is true justice being practiced, there is God. Wherever there is true freedom being promoted or defended, there is God. Wherever there is a person, perhaps a total stranger from another race or culture, who acts as a true brother or sister to me, there is God. And so on …

On the other hand, if I am deeply concerned about my (or my group’s) rights, privileges, agenda, power and status to the exclusion of others, then God is not there. Exclusion is not an attribute of God, and therefore should not be part of the life of one who calls himself or herself a Christian. That’s why one of my daily prayers at Mass is: “Lord, please grant the grace of conversion to our country and our Church.”

All the best to you today!!!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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