Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading: Numbers 11:25-29 Responsorial: Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14
2nd Reading: James 5:1-6 Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Eldad and Medad. (Numbers 11:27)
We all know that Moses was filled with the Spirit of the Lord, but today’s first reading tells us that God took the Spirit and shared it with seventy-two elders of Israel. Unfortunately, two of the elders, Eldad and Medad, were not with everyone else when this happened.
But that didn’t stop God. To everyone’s surprise, the Spirit fell upon Eldad and Medad, even though they were not at the “ordination.” Hearing the news, Moses declared, “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” (Numbers 11:29).
There is a similar story in today’s Gospel. John told Jesus, “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 him” because “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:38, 39, 40). In both of these stories, people were harshly judging someone who was trying to do God’s will but who didn’t fit into their expectations.
Today, we still believe that the Spirit falls on everyone who is baptized and accepts Jesus in faith. As Peter said, “The promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off” (Acts 2:39). Those who are “far off” includes us. Like Moses and the elders, the apostles, and the man John condemned, we too have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We too are meant to be prophets.
Being a prophet doesn’t mean shouting in the desert like John the Baptist did. It doesn’t mean confronting kings and princes like Jeremiah and Amos did. A prophet is someone who brings Jesus and his words to the world. That’s our job. Jesus is asking us to tell people how wonderful he is. He is asking us to proclaim his mercy, his goodness, and his salvation. And he’s asking us to do it with a heart filled with his love.
If Moses were here, he’d tell us, “By the power of the Holy Spirit, you are a prophet. So get out there and proclaim God’s word to a hurting world. I wish that every member of the Church would take up this call.”
“Lord, help me to be your prophet.”
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion:
1. In the first reading, Joshua’s states his concerns to Moses because Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, and they were not there when Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied. Moses responds with these words: Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!
- Why do you think that Joshua was so concerned about Eldad and Medad?
- What do you think is the meaning of Moses response, and how does it apply to you?
- What steps can you take to open yourself to a deeper work of the Holy Spirit in your life?
2. The Responsorial Psalm reminds us that The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart and The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
- In what ways is this contrary to the current thinking in our culture?
- Where in your life have you been surprised when, by following God’s precepts and laws instead of your own desires, you experienced joy, refreshment, and wisdom — rather than experiencing them as being burdensome?
3. The second reading opens with these hard-hitting words of St. James: Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. James then goes on to expresses his concern for justice and condemns the greedy behavior of those who would cheat, demean, or dehumanize others for their own luxury and pleasure.
- What do these opening words of the reading mean to you? In what ways are they also a warning to each of us?
- What are some ways we as Catholics could do more to reach out to those who suffer injustice and are alienated?
4. The Gospel reading begins with these words: At that time, John said to Jesus, “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 him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”
- What message do you believe Jesus was trying to convey with his words to John and his disciples (and to us)?
- Could these words of Jesus also be applied to how we view and treat Christians who are not Catholic? If so, what are some steps we can take as Catholics to foster unity with other Christians?
5. The Gospel reading continues with these words of Jesus: Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. Jesus goes on to further describe the severe and eternal consequences of ongoing sin.
- Why do you think Jesus described such severe actions to be taken in response to sin, especially those that causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin — and the consequences of these sins to be eternal punishment?
- In what ways do these words of Jesus apply especially to our behavior as Catholic Christians? What are some steps you can take to improve the kind of example and model you are as a Christian to your family and others?
6. The meditation is a reflection on the first reading story of Eldad and Medad “prophesying in the camp” and the Gospel story of “someone driving out demons” in Jesus name. It reminds us that “In both of these stories, people were harshly judging someone who was trying to do God’s will but who didn’t fit into their expectations.” It goes on to tell us that “Today, we still believe that the Spirit falls on everyone who is baptized and accepts Jesus in faith. We too are meant to be prophets” It continues with these words: “A prophet is someone who brings Jesus and his words to the world. That’s our job. Jesus is asking us to tell people how wonderful he is. He is asking us to proclaim his mercy, his goodness, and his salvation. And he’s asking us to do it with a heart filled with his love.”
- The meditation reminds us that “the Spirit falls on everyone who is baptized and accepts Jesus in faith.” Why are both Baptism and faith the keys to receiving the Holy Spirit?
- Do you believe, as the meditation states that “we too have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us? We too are meant to be prophets” and that God desires you to bring “Jesus and his words to the world”? If so, then in what ways?
Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to say yes to his call to be a prophetic voice; and to say yes, in a deeper way, to his call to be his witness, voice, hands, and feet to our broken and fallen world. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.
“Lord, help me to be your prophet.”