YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: POSSESSING THE MANDATE TO ACT IN JESUS’ NAME
BY: Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M.
Does every Christian possess the mandate to act in the name of Jesus?
God’s word today presents us with the report which Jesus' disciples brought before him as lead by John. It was centered on who had the mandate to act in the name of Jesus (Mk 9, 38-40).
We read in John 1, 12, where Jesus said that all who received him, who believed in his name, he has empowered to become sons and daughters of God. And he went further to affirm this mandate when he declared:
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these…”(Jn 14, 12).
But unfortunately, we see in today’s Gospel a misunderstanding and misconception of the mandate to act in Jesus’s name.
Acting in Jesus name is not the prerogative of a selected few or a mandate given to a particular group or individual. It is rather a mandate given to believers in general.
Jesus’s response in today’s Gospel confirms this when he said: “Do not stop him”, in response to John’s report of the man whom the disciples saw casting out demons in the name of Jesus and they tried to stop him (Mk 9, 38-40 ). Jesus further added that “no one who does a deed of power in his name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil against him (Mk 9, 39).
We see a similar scenario play out in the first reading of today, when God poured out his spirit upon 70 elders of Israel (Numb 11, 25). This spirit of prophesy was before now reposed only on Moses, but God has in his kindness given out his spirit so that the 70 elders could partake in spreading God’s presence among his people.
Let us know also that the No 70 is very significant in the Bible, as it stands for completeness and perfection of things.
Joshua would become uncomfortable and jealous upon seeing Eldad and Medad, two men, among those who received the spirit still prophesying and in the camp (Numb 11, 28). In fact he would go as far as asking Moses to stop them from prophesying.
This is exactly what John and the other disciples of Jesus tried to do as they saw the man casting out demons in the name of Jesus.
Unfortunately also, this kind of uneasiness and jealousy is still seen among Christians of today. And what could be the cause of this?
The answer is found in Moses’ response to Joshua: “Are you jealous for my sake” (Numb 11, 29).
We need to do away with jealousy and unhealthy competitions in our worship and service of God.
Moses’ response still puts us on the right track; on how we ought to respond in such situations when we discover new talents or find out that one or more people are capable of doing what we do or even doing it better than us: “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit on them (all) (Numb 11, 29b).
The vineyard of the Lord is so vast and wide that the present number of Christians and ministers are not sufficient enough to carry out God’s message till the ends of the earth.
God is therefore calling on us all today, to be open to the Spirit of serving in his vineyard and if we are already at work with him, let us not block or disparage others from coming in, to make their own contributions, in further spreading the kingdom of God.
We pray for the grace to fully realize that everyone of us is called by God to act in the name of Jesus Christ.
You have the mandate! Have a fruitful week.
Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M.
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