(26th Ordinary Sunday: Numbers 11:25-29; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-48)
In the rite of baptism we are anointed with chrism, a perfumed oil which symbolizes that we are one with Christ who was anointed Priest, Prophet and King.
The priesthood of the faithful means that we have been made worthy to offer true worship. But how are we prophets? Can you see yourself as a prophet today? Are you eager, like Isaiah, or, like Jonah, will you run away?
In the first reading we are told, “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.” What exactly did they do? We do not know; but whatever it was, it was the work of the same spirit that God had given to Moses.
If they spoke, it was surely a message for the benefit of others, proclaiming God’s will or his wonders. Mary, full of grace from the moment of her conception, was present with the Apostles at Pentecost. Who could have been more open than she to the indwelling of the Spirit?
She was prompted by the Spirit—can we doubt it?—to come to La Salette in a prophetic role. She gave a share of her spirit to two children unsuited to the mission she entrusted to them, so that they could make known her challenging and encouraging message of reconciliation and conversion, and all her people could turn back to her Crucified Son.
In the Gospel, Jesus does not claim an exclusive patent on his powers. His attitude, “Whoever is not against us is for us,” is similar to that of Moses in the first reading: “Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”
The Psalmist prays, “From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant; let it not rule over me.” In baptism we renounced Satan and all his works. But, for a prophet, it is not enough to be blameless. We have to live the message we proclaim. We must be faithful to the share of the spirit that is given to us.
As La Salette Laity, Sisters and Missionaries, we have received the spirit of the Beautiful Lady. We prophesy in a great variety of ways. May we be so bold as to suggest that the writing of these humble weekly reflections might have a share in that mission?
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.