30 September 2012 - 26th Sunday (B) -
[ Numbers 11:25-29 | Psalm 19 | James 5:1-6 | + Mark 9:38-43, 45,47-48]
This is my homily for 30 September 2012 (Sunday). I am a Catholic chaplain in Teaneck at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) campus and for the FDU Newman Catholic Association and at New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City. We celebrate Catholic Mass - during Fall and Spring semester - every Sunday Evening (7:00 p.m.) at the FDU University Interfaith Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck, NJ.
[__01] A good messenger – or a system of messaging/communication – is important in a crowded or competitive place.
This includes the arena and field. Coaches and players – especially in football and baseball – have complex gestures and hand signals in order to communicate – and execute – a particular strategy.
Sometimes, the most important messages are concealed, available only to selected participants.
Orchestra and choir/musical conductors use special messages to communicate volume and rhythm.
The messages of the NY Philharmonic conductor are not as as secretive as the NY Yankees but only the experienced performers will grasp their significance.
[__02] Sometimes, in a crowd or competition, we wonder if our message will be heard, comprehended. Will the listener(s) be able to separate – as the sound engineers would say at the Springsteen concert (we are here in New Jersey after all) -the SIGNAL from the NOISE? The SIGNAL being the actual message, the noise being the background noise, disturbance, static.
[__03] And, in our readings – from the Book of Numbers and the Gospel-Book of Mark – the sound-engineering philosophy of Moses and Jesus is given.
They are also concerned about communicating the message.
And, Moses and Jesus are told about the “unlicensed,” “non registered” prophets and messengers who are, in fact, spreading the word.
Both Moses and Jesus respond similarly,
MOSES -- “Would that all the people of the Lord – of Israel – were prophets”. That is, Moses feels blessed that people are taking it upon themselves to spread the Good News.
JESUS – Similarly welcoming – and affirming – is our Lord Jesus who desires that these non-union, un-registered messengers, would continue, “He who is not against us is for us.”
[__05] You and I are also called to be prophets, to be messengers for God. Paul describes this as being an ambassador for Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20).
Jesus goes on to say, even to exaggerate the point, that a messenger who lacks perfect vision, who lacks manual dexterity, a messenger who cannot walk or run quickly… can still be a messenger.
In other words, to be God’s messengers, God’s servants, we do not need to have perfect eyes, perfect hands, or feet.
In fact, if we consider messengers – heroes – we have known, we know that they have given up their own safety for the good of someone else, for God, for the message, or for freedom.
Not everyone of us is called to sacrifice in this particular way.
But, nevertheless, we can recall – in the use of our physical and spiritual strength -- “If we are not against him, we are for him.”
[__06-SHORTCUTS] To travel through – or to communicate in a crowded place, messengers often seek shortcuts, new methods, to achieve that high-speed PREMIUM RUSH bicycle delivery or maximum publicity.
Can we not also use some of our desires for speed, for shortcutsd, for brevity on God’s behalf, for God’s purposes, and not only our own will?
For example, to be the PREMIUM RUSH messenger – for the Lord – am I willing to risk a conversation with someone who opposes me, who seems not to like me?
In this, I would be doing the daring-messenger maneuver of going down a one-way street.
And, am I willing to carry an extra burden in backpack, or my heart, in my prayer fro someone else. Those bike messengers pick up extra packages for money. Do we pick up extra?
[__07] Yes, I am speaking figuratively, not literally about how we can be of service as messengers, as prophets.
But, it is our call to be of service even if we are occasionally rejected.
But the Lord is suggesting that we do not have to be officially registered prophets. We can do this with his help – also on our own skills.
And, in this regard, it may be risky, but we can try this at home. [___fin__]