Arise and Shine: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

In both the first reading (Numbers 11:25-29) and the Gospel (Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48) jealousy is rearing its ugly head again.

In the case of Eldad and Medad (baby names anyone), who didn’t show up for the party at the tent but still received the Spirit, no one believed their names were on the VIP list. Well, regardless of their RSVP, the Spirit comes to them, and they cannot contain sharing it. Jealous Joshua goes to Moses and says, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” (Numbers 11: 28)

Now, why would Moses stop them? This is exactly what Moses wants! “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!” (Numbers 11:29)

In the Gospel, John is concerned that someone is driving out demons in Jesus’ name and Jesus doesn’t seem concerned at all. John points out that this man is not a disciple of Christ; he is not in the cool club. But, Jesus just gets annoyed with John, saying, “For whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:41)

Jesus wants everyone to experience the love and mercy of His Father! He knows His mission and wants everyone to join in that mission.

Jealousy can cause separation in our church and ministries if we forget the mission God has placed in our hearts. We have all watched programs and parishioners sink to the bottom of the ministry ocean simply because someone doesn’t want another to succeed above them. We have all witnessed the effects of our words speaking gossip and envy on our parish campuses. We have all seen the blindness to the spiritual and physical poverty of our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of denomination or parish boundaries. We have all stayed safe in our “structures and institutions” failing to reach out our hand or walk to the periphery where the most destitute can be found.

There are billions of people in the world, some who know Christ and many who do not. As Pope Francis reaffirmed to every United States citizen this week, “Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility.” He reminded Congress of the Golden Rule saying, “The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

In Philadelphia he boldly spoke of mission, emphasizing that, “One of the great challenges facing the Church in this generation is to foster in all the faithful a sense of personal responsibility for the Church’s mission, and to enable them to fulfill that responsibility as missionary disciples, as a leaven of the Gospel in our world. This will require creativity in adapting to changed situations, carrying forward the legacy of the past not primarily by maintaining our structures and institutions, which have served us well, but above all by being open to the possibilities which the Spirit opens up to us and communicating the joy of the Gospel, daily and in every season of our life.”

He asks each of us to look at ourselves the way St. Katharine Drexel was asked by Pope Leo XIII to look at herself and the mission God placed on her heart when he said, “What about you? What are you going to do?”

Why do we look for others to fix the errors of our Church, or why do we prevent others from joining in our efforts to spread the Good News? We must start “discerning and employing wisely the manifold gifts which the Spirit pours out upon the Church.” He calls us to look at, “How many young people in our parishes and schools have the same high ideals, generosity of spirit, and love for Christ and the Church! Do we challenge them? Do we make space for them and help them to do their part? To find ways of sharing their enthusiasm and gifts with our communities, above all in works of mercy and concern for others? Do we share our own joy and enthusiasm in serving the Lord?” (Pope Francis Philadelphia Mass)

This Gospel, along with Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, should challenge us immensely to look at our brother and sisters of all denominations and hope the way Moses hoped, “Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!” (Numbers 11:29)


Image via Justin Sullivan / AP / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.

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