by Sister Mary Kabat
Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!
In Sunday's first reading from the Book of Numbers God distributes the spirit He gave to Moses on seventy elders including two not with the group but back in the camp. When those two begin to prophesy Joshua urges Moses to stop them. Moses, however, does not hold on to his gifts from God nor fail to rejoice that others share them. "Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!" (Numbers 11:29) He wants everyone to know God as he does and live from God's spirit.
The other Scripture readings from the Letter of St. James and the Gospel of St. Mark are very hard to hear - "You rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries."(James 5:1); "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off." (Mark 9:43) and more. They are harsh and visually frightening. Sometimes it takes tough words to get our attention and motivate us to conversion and action. Perhaps words you've heard from a parent or a doctor come to mind. There are words we don't like to hear but if taken to heart can lead to changes that make us better people.
That is how I am listening this Sunday to the words of Scripture. No matter how hard the words, I want to hear God's call to conversion and action at this moment of my life. How about you?
Thanks for the deep messages -- with few words!
For several things I thank you, Sister Mary. This fall I am a catechist for a high school Faith Formation class on the Bible. I have recently researched "prophets and "prophesies" and the use of extreme exaggeration (hyperbole) in the Bible. I will be thinking of you when I hear these readings at mass today. Also, I found the USCCB web site on the Bible to be to be a great resource as I read Psalm 142. It is great to know details of St. Francis' death and his feast day this coming week. Thanks for all of this, and also for your personal response to "the challenge." I will carry all of this into the classroom this week. Happy feast day!