Sat, 29 September 2018
(Nm.11:25-29; Ps.19:8-10,12-14; Jas.5:1-6; Mk.9:38-43,45,47-48)
“Would that all the people to the Lord were prophets!
Would that the Lord might bestow His Spirit on them all!”
There is of course a striking similarity in our first reading and our gospel today. In one, Joshua, “who from his youth had been Moses’ aide,” comes to his master to inform him that two men who had not gone as instructed to the mountain to receive God’s Spirit were “prophesying in the camp”: “Moses, my lord, stop them,” he zealously proclaims. And in the other, John, the Lord’s beloved disciple, conveys his message to Jesus: “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us,” he, too, attempting to thwart the Spirit of God which does not go forth in channels that seem proper. But Moses’ answer above could not be more strongly stated, and Jesus says plainly to His disciples, “Do not prevent them. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” And so, let goodness go forth, unto the ends of the earth.
Indeed, Moses’ cry is the Lord’s will, and it is this will Jesus has come to realize – that all may embrace what is right and true and so come to the kingdom of heaven. However, inherent in Moses’ exclamation is also the unfortunate fact that most do not have the Spirit of God; most are not walking in His name. More often than not the “wanton sin” which James so graphically presents to our eyes and ears is the state of man; and so the horrible miseries he even more graphically represents become their fate. And so, to accomplish His work of salvation upon the face of the earth, the Christ must necessarily be severe in His speech, in His warning and His instruction: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off… If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off… If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” – better these measures than the fires of Gehenna… better any pain on this plane than the eternal punishments of the hell wrought by the sins so much a part of all our lives.
With great wisdom David speaks of the precepts of the Lord. First he recognizes that “the law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” and “fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever”; then, seeking to endure forever with the Lord of all, he declares to God of His laws: “Though your servant is careful of them, very diligent in keeping them, yet who can detect failings?” And even wiser is he to cry out, “Cleanse me from my unknown faults!” for he knows only this thorough cleansing will make him any prophet of God; only if he be “blameless and innocent” will he maintain the Lord’s Spirit within himself. And so the same is true for all the Lord would gather into His arms, all who seek His eternal reward.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Open Air" from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, that all were prophets!
that all would purify their souls in your undying light
and so enter into your kingdom.
YHWH, your Spirit be upon us this day. Let us turn away from all sin that we might enter your kingdom.
How perfect you are, O LORD, and how perfect is your Law. Your Word comes to us as a cleansing flame. But if we turn our hearts from love of you, that flame becomes a devouring fire. If we attach ourselves to the riches of this world, seeking its treasure by ungodly means, what can we be but separated from you on your holy Day. For all that is wicked shall be cast into flame, and from it shall not be withdrawn. But all your children will be refreshed by that flame, purified to stand in your presence.
O let us be innocent and blameless of serious sin, dearest LORD and God! And let us not lead any astray, that we might not merit condemnation. It is your will that all come to glory and you cannot but cast aside all who work against the bestowing of your Spirit upon souls.