A Collaborative Effort
(26th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Num. 11:25-29; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-48)
Jealousy has two forms. Either we resent not having what someone else has, or we are overly protective of what we do have. The latter case appears in both the first reading and the Gospel
Joshua, jealous for Moses’ sake, wanted to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying. John wanted to reserve to a select group, of which he was a member, the power to cast out demons. Neither Moses nor Jesus takes that restrictive approach. The one says, “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!” The other says, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”
It is hard to imagine two New Testament writers more different than Paul and James. As forceful as Paul can sometimes be in chastising errant Christians, you will find in his letters nothing quite as ferocious as today’s text from James.
Is one more “for Christ,” or more inspired, than the other? By no means. God is not held to account for the choices he makes in the distribution of his gifts.
We see the same thing at La Salette. Mary chose Mélanie and Maximin. We don’t know why. She chose a place that was, and still is, not easily accessible. She said things that no one would have expected from the Mother of God. The choices were hers to make.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Missionaries who were founded to spread her message and serve her pilgrims struggled to find their way and their place in the Church. They were not, and still are not, chosen for their perfections. The same may be safely said of La Salette Sisters, and La Salette Laity.
The preaching of the Gospel is a collaborative effort. In 1 Corinthians, Paul uses the analogy of the body for the Church, where each member needs all the others.
There is a Polish hymn for children with the words: “Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, thin ones—they can all be saints—just like me and just like you.” We can expand the list to include every personality type, culture, level of education, and so on. Together we make up the whole Church, and it as Church that we are able, through the variety of our members, to be, in Christ, with no jealousy, all things to all people.