This week we see how the Lord imparts His Spirit and ability upon us. It is God’s desire that we share in His authority. So often we do not realize that not only does God love us, and desire that we do great things for him, but that He empowers us with His grace to be prophets, healers and sharers of His divine gifts.
I recall as a Pastor how new members would come to my parish. When I served in Indianapolis young couples were joining. Empowered by the Spirit I recall a couple where the husband felt called by God and guided by the Spirit to become a Catholic, be baptized. This newly baptized member had dynamic faith. Having received that awesome power of the Spirit wanted to become involved. I asked he and his wife to lead our young adult ministry. To be my special envoys to gather young adults and young couples. But before the ministry could get off the ground another couple, who were raised in the parish, ran the newly empowered spirit filled couple off telling them, “who do you think you are coming in here taking over.” You see they didn’t welcome the prophetic gift that had been imparted by God to this new couple. The couple became discouraged and eventually left the parish and till this day, nothing dynamic has happened in this ministry. You see church, “If all of God’s people would be prophets” To often we shut down, block and keep those anointed by God to use their gifts from evening coming forth.
Each of us has been called by God like in the First Reading today to be prophets. Our very Baptism calls us to use the prophetic gift for the building up of the body of Christ. We here in the book of Numbers the complaint that two men are prophesying: “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, “Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said,”Moses, my lord, stop them.”But Moses answered him,”Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!”
Prophetic, talented and gifted person come into our midst as a parish. Do we welcome them, encourage their enthusiasm, or do we consider them a threat, do we say things like: “Who do you think you are coming in here taking over.” The church must welcome all those who offer their gifts, their talents and their enthusiasm for the good of the parish. Instead of being jealous rather we can look at ourselves and see if we are doing our best, utilizing our best gifts and abilities for God, or are we content sitting back complaining about what others are doing, while we sit back and do nothing. Instead of “fanning into flame the gift of the Spirit” that we have received, we seek to squelch others, drive them away and complain that they’re taking over.
From the simple act of offering a glass of water, the simplest to the greatest of gifts must be welcomed. Even in the Gospel Jesus’ disciples are jealous because others who are not of their group are casting out demons in Jesus name, as if they have some control of Jesus Divine Power, for their use only. “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”Jesus replied, “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”
No one has a monopoly on God’s grace and Spirit. You see we have a baptismal mandate to be priests, prophets and rulers. To be men and women who through being persons of prayer, ask the Lord to guide us that endowed with His Spirit, we can impact and shape the world around us. To bring order and build up the church. Our parish needs everyone’s gifts. As a pastor I welcome all ideas, all gifts to be used. We all have different gifts, but are recipients of the same Spirit. All of these gifts are meant to build up the body of Christ. Let’s move aside our jealousy and selfishness and allow the gifts of others to be lifted up. To those who are new, to those who desire to get involved and find maybe others are welcoming, or are to busy trying to control “what’s theirs” Do not be discouraged by those who doubt, question you. Stand firm and maybe your steadfastness will move them from jealousy, to joyous supporters. Maybe they will examine their own lives and see if they can move from self-centeredness to other centeredness, to seeking using their gifts and celebrating others.