YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: “Be not consumed by the fire of jealousy because it leaves you never satisfied even if the whole world is given to you”
BY: Fr. Clem Mezie Aladi.
GOSPEL: MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
My dearest Children of God, I welcome you into the Lord’s presence today, may you find joy and satisfaction in what you have and be happy for what others have received. Be tolerant of others and show a good example to the young. The readings of today warn us against the dangers of jealousy, intolerance and scandal. May God save us from all these. Amen.
To begin our reflection this morning let us re-read these lines from the first reading and the gospel.
… _Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said, “Moses, my lord, stop them.” Moses answered, “are you jealous for my sake”_
From the gospel
_…” 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 them…”_
I juxtaposed these lines from the first reading and the gospel for us to see more clearly what was wrong with the servants( Joshua and the Apostles and what their masters ( Jesus and Moses responded to them in that situation.
The attitude of the Joshua and the Apostles is similar to what many of us Christians are doing today. For Joshua, Eldad and Medad don’t deserve to share in that spiritual empowerment because they were not physically present when the seventy elders were empowered. He is simply jealous that they were also bestowed with the spirit of Moses in spite of being absent.I once experienced a similar scenario in the past where someone donated gifts to be shared by all the members of a group in appreciation to their good job in society. A serious disagreement ensued as to who should receive the gift and who should not. Some were of the opinion that those who were absent from meeting on that particular day the donation was made should not have any share of the gifts, while others insisted that everyone must have a share since the donor intended everyone to have a share. Those who insisted on excluding those physically absent that day had the ulterior motive of getting more since they know they won’t get enough if the gifts were shared equally to everyone and that is why they were not considerate of those who may be legitimately absent. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation as this were you insisted on excluding others or jealous that those who were absent got the same fair share as yourself who travelled miles or made more sacrifices? Granted that there are times when laws or regulations governing a group might permit the exclusion of people absent, but it is not so when God decides to bless his people. Why should you be jealous that God does not exclude anyone in His gifts? Why should you be jealous that someone also got what you have? Why should you think that you are more qualified and deserving than another? Are you still considerate and tolerant of others?
Moses instructed Joshua to be tolerant. This selection is intended to provide a Biblical background for Jesus’ response to the same kind of jealousy noticed in his Apostles.
On the part of the Apostles, they had this lofty believe that they have the monotony of the prophetic power because they belong to the group that possesses the power and therefore anyone outside the group does not have the right to prophesy. Is this not partisan political mindset? Is this not the kind of mentality that militate against growth and productivity in the society today? Is this not similar to the attitude of many who wish to remain in power and wouldn’t want anyone or any other political party outside theirs to taste the seat of power? knowledge, wealth, power, success etc should not be an aristocracy of a few and not a democracy of all. Thanks to the timely and encouraging response of the Masters, Jesus and Moses, these men would have done something unjust out of jealousy and intolerance.
Dear child of God, no matter how blessed you are, *a true sense of self-fulfilment comes when we succeed together or when you are happy seeing others succeed* . When we tolerate others knowing too well that they are not as privileged as we are, we also build a community where everyone is happy. Stop being jealous ” *jealousy has no limits; it an evil that continually endures and a sin without end.The lies of jealousy burns hotter in proportion to the increasing success of the person who is envied.* St. Cyprain of Carthage.
In the second reading, James warns the rich against giving scandal by their denial of social justice to their workers in refusing to give them a living wage, by ignoring the needs of others and by condemning and murdering the innocent and the righteous. Withholding a day-labourer’s wage was a terrible act of injustice, tantamount to murder in the agricultural economy of the ancient Middle East. Baptism commits every Christian to work for social justice, through peaceable (rather than violent), means. Let us be kind, generous and just.
We also hear in the gospel, the strong warning of Jesus against giving scandal, especially to innocent children, vulnerable members of the community and beginners in the Faith. Jesus instructs the Apostles, and us, that, just as a doctor might remove by surgery a limb or some part of the body in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us or others to sin and which leads to spiritual death. *The Church has suffered a lot as a result of the scandalous life of many of her children, let us pray and work hard to give good example to heal the wounds of the past.*
In this mass let us ask God to give us the grace to avoid any conduct that will lead to scandal, to be tolerant with others bearing their weakness without condoning evil and to avoid any form of Jealousy that will militate against our spiritual growth and fulfilment.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem Mezie Aladi.