Doing the Work of The Lord
A Reflection on the Readings for September 27th 2009
Numbers 11:25-29, Psalm 18, James 5:1-6, Mark 9:38-48
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus / Franciscans of Divine Mercy
Reformed Catholic Church of New England
This Sunday’s readings have, it seems to me, a very important message for all who claim to be Christians and followers of Christ. One of the most important is found in the message of the Psalm which affirms the truth about Almighty God. That truth is that He listens to us and answers our prayers. If we put our lives in God’s hands, He will protect us and make life safe for us. There is, of course, one condition and it is, we have to live according to how Christ’s instructed us.
“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.” (Psalm 18)
A second and even more powerful message is that by placing our measure of success in material things we are leading ourselves to possible destruction. The message found in James 5 is crystal clear, on several points.
One concerns how we gain our earthly wealth. If we have accumulated profit at the expense of others that profit will be like a fire that consumes you. It also places blame for many of the problems that our world is facing on those who live for material and financial gain without concern for those who are in need.
“Now an answer for the rich. Start crying; weep for the miseries that are coming to you. You stored up as your treasure for the last days a burning fire. Laborers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realize that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them“. (James 5).
The third message found in this weeks’ readings concerns those who seem to feel that they speak for God and can decide who is worthy to participate in offering honor, praise and glory. .They firmly believe that their path is the only path to God and that they can decide who is worthy and who is not.
In the Gospel reading when the apostles told Jesus that they tried to stop people who were not of their group from prophesying and performing miracles in the name of Almighty God Jesus said: “You must not stop them: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’ anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck”. (Mark 9)
Lastly, the reading from numbers has a very interesting and thought provoking idea for us to ponder.
It concerns a supposition about what the world would be like if everyone was given the gift of prophesy by God. "If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!" (Numbers 11)
Imagine if every follower of God had the gift of prophesy. If that were actually the case, the world might not be so quick to declare war against other nations. People would be more likely to be concerned about the needs of the poor, hungry, aged, sick, and more likely to be more compassionate and less judgmental. People would realize that a pure love between two people is a good thing not to be disparaged and condemned.
As we contemplate the messages of this week’s readings and how well we are living our daily lives in accord with them let us keep in mind what the scriptures taught us on what God expects of us.
He put us here to gain the greatest wage and wealth of all, Everlasting life in His presence.
We have been sent out into the vineyards to be the hands, feet, mouth and spirit of Almighty God and to actively wage the battle against the powers of darkness who are attempting to replace His infinite mercy, love, and compassion with hatred, discrimination, war, violence, greed and self-gratification.
The following is a prayer I offer each day as I attempt to go about my daily life humbly serving God as best I can while seeking God’s strength to improve.
O Lord, you are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer in whom I take refuge.
Almighty God, I give you my hands to do Your work; I give you my feet to go Your way;
I give you my eyes to see as You do; I give you my tongue to speak Your words; I give you my mind that You may think in me; I give you my spirit that You may pray in me;
Above all, I give you my heart that You may love in and through me all to whom I come in contact with each and every day. I dedicate myself to doing Your will in all things and to become an instrument through which You might bring about peace and harmony to all your children here on earth. AMEN (Written by Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD in 1991 for a retreat weekend)