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THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

26 SEPTEMBER 2021

Someone who isn’t part of Jesus’ own circle is casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and the disciples want him stopped.  They appeal to Jesus, as Joshua did to Moses about the elders who prophesied without official authorization.  Like Moses, Jesus refuses to see this as a threat.  Jesus welcomes good being done in his name, even when it is not under his control.  The circle we form around Jesus’ word must be able to value good being done in ways we wouldn’t do it, by people we can’t keep tabs on.

First Reading: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29

What constitutes legitimate need and legitimate leadership is the focus of this reading.  God provides manna in the wilderness, yet the people crave meat.  What is truly needful?  God bestows the spirit on seventy elders, yet two men not designated as leaders prophesy in the power of God’s spirit.  What constitutes real leadership?

Psalm: Psalm 19:7-14

The commandment of the Lord gives light to the eyes. (Ps. 19:8)

Second Reading: James 5:13-20

Marks of the Christian community include praying for those who are sick and in need, celebrating with those in good health, restoring those who have strayed, confessing sins to one another, and offering forgiveness to each other.

Gospel: Mark 9:38-50

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus teaches his disciples about ministry that involves service and sacrifice.  His disciples are slow to realize that these words apply to them as well as to others.

 

 
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