Saturday, September 26, 2009

1st Reading, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Numbers 11:25-29

The Appointment of the Seventy Elders

[25] Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.

[26] Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. [27] And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." [28] And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them." [29] But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"

11:24:30. God himself is the source of the spirit and he can give it to whomever he chooses, irrespective of human qualifications. Moses, for his part, has absolutely the right attitude: he has no desire to monopolize the spirit or to be its only channel; he seeks only the people's welfare and is delighted to see signs of the spirit in other people; indeed, he would like all the Israelites to have it.

Commenting on this passage, St CyriI of Jerusalem teaches: "there is a hint here of what happened at Pentecost among us" ("Catechesis Ad Illuminandos", 16, 26). God did indeed promise the spirit to all the people (cf. Joel 3:1-2) and the day came when that promise was fulfilled through Jesus Christ who, after his ascension into heaven, sent the Holy Spirit to the Church (cf. Acts 1:13). Therefore, the Church, "the holy people of God shares also in Christ's prophet office: it spreads abroad a living witness to him especially by a life of faith and love [...]. It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the people, leads them and enriches them with his virtues. Allotting his gifts according as he wills (cf. Cor 12:11), he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church" (Vatican 11, "Lumen Gentium", 12).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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