THE LORD SPOKE WITH MOSES, but took some of the spirit that was from him and put it on the seventy leaders. When the spirit came on them, they prophesied (Num 11: 25). Jesus answers, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in my name can soon after speak evil of me” (Mk 9: 39). Peter says, “God shows no partiality but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10: 34-35). The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, proceeding from the Father and Son from all eternity. The Holy Spirit is a living Love called the Spirit of Love. The Holy Spirit blows where He wills, beyond all human logic. God has the absolute sovereignty and gratuitousness in the attribution of gifts. Undoubtedly, his divine gifts are not reserved for those who exercise an official charge in the community; all members are able to receive them.

Moses prays angrily to Yahweh. The account of Eldad and Medad who prophesy without being registered shows the limitless power of Good who, indeed, has no favourites. Moses’ attitude toward those against the duo is tolerance. He believes that no one has a monopoly of wisdom. Tolerance and prejudice are incompatible. Though you may sit upon a throne, if you are an intolerant person, you will surely be despised.

Competitiveness has no place in the Christian community. The same thing is true of the relationship of the community to those who do not belong to it in any declared/formal way (Mk 9: 38-46). Anyone who does the will of God belongs to the family of Jesus (cf Mk 3: 35). In this episode, a stranger is exercising Jesus power and name without authorization! John cannot tolerate such high handedness. Here, John and his companions show total ignorance of Jesus and his mission - that he has come to liberate the people from the slavery of the evil powers, and this bring the reign of God on earth. That stranger is, in fact, performing this mission!

They cannot claim to be the exclusive dispensers of God’s gifts. God, who is the source of every good, can make use of anyone to bestow his blessings. Just as Jesus ruled out personal arrogance (Mk 9: 33-37), he now rules out group arrogance.

Jesus’ tolerant attitude is grounded in the idea that anyone who exorcised in his name would be slow to speak ill of him. The vital importance in our country is tolerance of and cooperation with others of goodwill. A true disciple of Christ must excel in practising respect and reverence towards other religions, beliefs and customs. Religion does not mean sectarianism.

Peter had no hesitation in entering a pagan household, something strictly forbidden to a Jew. He preached Christ’s life, death and resurrection to the assembled Gentiles. While he was preaching, the Holy Spirit descended on them and they began to praise God in various languages, just as the Apostles and disciples had done on Pentecost day in Jerusalem. What greater proof was needed to convince Peter and his companions that God wanted the Gentiles, as well as the Jews in his Church? Thus Cornelius and his household were baptised in the name of Jesus Christ and became the first Gentiles to enter the Church.

In today’s world, people’s primary  focus seems to be amassing wealth and money for themselves. The words ‘sharing’ and ‘sacrificing’ are not found in the dictionaries of most of them. This is increasingly true of individuals, communities, societies and nations.

Mother Teresa states: “Love has no meaning if it is not shared. Love has to be put into action. You have to love without expectation to do something for love itself, not for what you may receive!” Martin Luther admits, “Love is an image of God, and not a lifeless image, but the living essence of the divine nature, which beams full of all goodness.” St Augustine adds, “He who loves his neighbour loves Jesus Christ himself. When you love Jesus Christ, you love the Son of God and you love the Father. Choose whomever you want to love and the rest will follow.”

Like Moses, who, during his farewell address, (Deut 30: 15) put the children of Israel the option of choosing “life and prosperity, death and calamity” Jesus presents love to us as the only way to live to the full. This means that we cannot have joy without love; we cannot have peace without love; we cannot have wholeness without love; and we3 cannot have fulfilment without love. To love God is to love and accept the most boring and irritating person we know. “Anyone who fails to love can never have known God because God is love” (1 Jn k4: 8).

Life on earth is but a short prelude to our real existence. If we use this brief period as Christ has told us to use it, death for us will be the passage into the eternal mansions. Let us be grateful to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let us love the Blessed Trinity and prove our love by loving our fellowmen.

Before you leave the Church today, try and pick up one person and decide on one thing you will do for him/her to please that person and make him/her happy. This is a good beginning!

Second Vatican Council - ‘The Church Today’ states: “What does the most to reveal God’s presence, however, is the brotherly charity of the faithful who are united in spirit as they work together for the faith of the gospel and who prove themselves a sign of unity.”

All scripture is summed up in Jesus’ commandment of Love. Real love is the universal language - understood by all. “Let mutual love continue.” (Heb 13: 1) May the fire of the divine love, like the rays of the sun which shine on all, go out to touch, bless, help and heal everyone. Amen.

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