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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B) – September 27,

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B) – September 27,

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Published by: SaintJoseph on Sep 21, 2009
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Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B) – September 27, 2009Scripture ReadingsFirst
Numbers 11:25-29
James 5:1-6
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48Prepared by: Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.1.
Subject Matter
God takes the initiative in our lives, acting in a creative, totally gratuitous, unexpected,unrestricted, new, surprising, exceptional way; the danger of our preconceptions, resistance,skepticism, and cynicism towards divine volition
A self that is pure and ready for “the last days”; cutting off from us whatever impedes perfectintegrity/unity with Christ and welcoming divine providence in authentic self-donation
Belonging to Christ2.
Exegetical Notes
“Yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp:” “The accent hereis on the absolute sovereignty of God in the attribution of gifts as well as the gratuitousnessof the God’s gift. The Spirit blows where it wills, beyond all human logic. God’s gifts are notreserved for those who exercise an official charge in the community; all members are able toreceive them.” (The International Bible Commentary)
“…that corrosion will be a testimony against you:” “James’ ire focuses on those wealthierChristians who lack a holistic faith. They have fraudulently held back the daily wages of thefarm workers and other laborers in violation of the well-established social legislations of theBible (notably Dt 24:14-15).” (The International Bible Commentary)
“There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak illof
. For whoever is not against
is for
:” This switch between “me” and “us” isextremely significant.
“If your hand causes you to sin…:” “These sayings use hyperbolic and metaphoricallanguage. Literally cutting off one’s hand or leg and plucking out one’s eye would not resolvethe ‘cause’ of the problem. A one-handed, one-footed, one-eyed person can still be tempted,sin, and thus stumble. So too can people with no hands, no feet, and no eyes. The humandilemma is that the sinful nature is part of a person’s innermost being (7:18-23), and thus it
cannot be removed by any form of amputation. The sayings are a hyperbolic attempt byJesus to warn his audience that there is no sin worth going to hell for. Better to repent, nomatter how painful that repentance may be, and follow Jesus, whatever the cost, then toperish in hell. The seriousness of this warning is emphasized in several ways. The use ofhyperbole is quite intentional. One uses such exaggerated language when what one isseeking to say is urgent. The threefold repetition of this teaching drives home its importance.The reward for repentance and the faithful exercise of self-discipline is described as “enteringlife” or “entering the kingdom of God.” (Robert H. Stein)3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
"The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design ofhis wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share inhis own divine life," to which he calls all men in his Son. "The Father . . . determined to calltogether in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ." This "family of God" isgradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with theFather's plan. In fact, "already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church wasprepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance.Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, itwill be brought to glorious completion at the end of time."
God's free initiative demands
man's free response 
, for God has created man in hisimage by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. Thesoul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directlymoves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only hecan satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire.
The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us topurify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us thattrue happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any humanachievement - however beneficial it may be - such as science, technology, and art, or indeedin any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love: All bow downbefore wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive homage. Theymeasure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure respectability. . . . It is a homageresulting from a profound faith . . . that with wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol ofthe day and notoriety is a second. . . . Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world - it maybe called "newspaper fame" - has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a groundof veneration.
By his obedience unto death, Christ communicated to his disciples the gift of royalfreedom, so that they might "by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin inthemselves:" That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subjectand, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in hissoul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. And because he knows how to rulehis own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisonedby sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.
United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life ofthe risen Christ, but this life remains "hidden with Christ in God." The Father has already"raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When werise on the last day we "also will appear with him in glory."4.
Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities
St. Thomas Aquinas: “Does prophecy call for goodness of life?... Prophecy can be withoutcharity…. Prophecy, as other charisms, is granted for the utility of the Church…. It is notordered directly so that the prophet’s will can be united to God, which is the purpose ofcharity. That is why prophecy can exist without goodness of conduct, if we bear in mind thefist root of all good conduct which is sanctifying grace…. There are some who receive the giftof prophecy solely for the benefit of others: they are thus instruments of divine operation.Thus St. Jerome writes, ‘To prophesy, or to work miracles, and to cast out devils, is at timesnot due to the merits of the one who so acts. But an invocation of the name of Christproduces the result; or else the gift is for the refutation of those who invoke the name, oragain for the benefit of those who see and hear these wonders.’... Divine gifts are not alwaysgiven to the best absolutely speaking, but sometime to those who are best as regardsreceiving this or that gift. Thus it is that God confers prophecy upon those he judges best togive it to.” (II-II 172, 4; ad 1; ad 4)
St. Augustine: “He who worked miracles in the name of Christ, and yet did not join himself tothe body of His disciples, in as far as he worked the miracles in His name, was with them,and was not against them: again, in that he did not join their society, he was not with them,and was against them. But because they forbade his doing that in which he was with them,the Lord said to them, Forbid him not; for they ought to have forbidden his being without theirsociety, and thus to have persuaded him of the unity of the Church, but they should not haveforbidden that in which he was with them, that is, his commendation of the name of their Lordand Master by the expulsion of devils.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem: “To make it clear that it was not Moses who bestowed the gift but theSpirit who wrought, Eldad and Medad, who had been called but had not yet presentedthemselves, also prophesied.”
St. John Chrysostom: “One who lives soberly sees easily the mire and the stain, but one whogives himself up to wickedness, like one made drowsy with drunkenness, does not evenrealize that he is ill. This is the worst aspect of evil, that it does not allow those who fall into iteven to see the seriousness of their own diseased state but that as they lie in the mire, theythink they are enjoying perfumes. So they do not have the slightest inclination to freethemselves.”
St. Bede: “By refusing to give alms the rich think that they have done well in saving theirtreasure, and indeed they have, though hey have not seen what it will be used for, namely,their own condemnation.”
Clementina: “Let none of you think that the Lord is here commending the cutting off ofmembers. His meaning is that that incentive should be cut off, not the members. The causeswhich allure to sin are to be cut off, in order that our thought, borne up on the chariot of sight,may push toward the love of God, supported by the bodily senses. So do not give loose reins

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