Do not stop anyone from working a miracle in my name
The authentic way of being a Christian is to embrace every dimension of life in imitation of Christ’s embrace of all humanity on the cross. The authentic disciple of Christ will display a sympathetic, compassionate concern for all peoples and refuse to descend to spiritual fundamentalism or religious monopolies.
Notes: The Lord revealed himself to Moses, yet two of the elders of the community continued their practice of prophesying for the people. It was Moses’ wish that all the people, not just the few, would be filled with the Spirit: his attitude was Let good be done by whomsoever the Lord wills!
If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets!
The Lord came down in the Cloud. He spoke with Moses, but took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the spirit came on them they prophesied, but not again. Two men had stayed back in the camp; one was called Eldad and the other Medad. The spirit came down on them; though they had not gone to the Tent, their names were enrolled among the rest. These began to prophesy in the camp. The young man ran to tell this to Moses, ‘Look,’ he said ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Then said Joshua the son of Nun, who had served Moses from his youth, ‘My Lord Moses, stop them!’ Moses answered him, ‘Are you jealous on my account? If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!’
Notes: The Apostle James saw the life-style of the church of his day and recalled the teaching of Jesus about justice for the poor. He condemns wealth as he regarded it to be the result of injustice because it offends the Lord who is visible in the poor. There can be no sincere commitment to the Gospel unless there is also a genuine concern for justice, truth and honesty.
The Lord hears the cries of those you have cheated
An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body. It was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.
Notes: Those who do good, whoever they may be, cannot be opposed to the Lord: it is not necessary to belong explicitly to Christ to produce his works. The true disciple is one who cuts out of his life all cause of sin which may be a source of scandal to the innocent.
Do not stop anyone from working a miracle in my name
John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. ‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward. ‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’
Many people have read and questioned Jesus’ words in the Gospels: "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For whoever asks receives, and whoever seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Mt 7:7-8).
These are powerful words, full of a great and demanding promise. But, we might ask ourselves: are they to be taken seriously? If I ask the Lord, will He really listen to my request? If I seek him, will I find Him? If I knock, will He open the door to me? …Doesn’t experience sometimes seem to belie this promise? …Can these words be trusted or not? …Won’t they, too, like so many others I hear around me, be a source of illusions and therefore of disappointment?”
These questions call to mind another passage of scripture which illuminate them in all their depth: “You will seek me and you will find me, for you will seek me with all your heart; I will let myself be found by you". (Jer 29:13-14). God allows Himself be found, yes, but only by those who seek Him with all their heart.
The Lord answers if we seek Him
The Lord allowed Himself to be found by the insistence of the importunate widow,
by Nichodemus’ thirst for truth,
by the faith of the centurion,
by the cry of the widow of Nain,
by the leper’s desire for health
and by Bartimaeus’ longing for sight.
These people are the ones for whom finding an answer had become an essential matter…any one of them could have rightfully uttered the words of Psalm 63: "My soul thirsts for you [Lord], my flesh longs for you, like a barren land without water".
In the same way, the one who seeks finds if they seek with all their heart, if the Lord becomes as vital for them as water for the desert, as the earth for a seed, as the sun for a flower.
This also is respectful of our freedom, as faith is not given automatically, indifferent of our participation, but rather it asks you to involve yourself in the first person and with your whole self. It is a gift that wants to be wanted. It is, in essence, Love that wants to be loved.
God is thirsty for us
Perhaps you have been looking for the Lord and have not found Him. Allow me to ask you a question: How strong was your desire for Him?
Seek Him with all the impetus of your heart, pray, ask, invoke, cry out, and He, as He has promised, will be found. Because the Lord desires that you seek Him so that He can find you.
In the words of St. Gregory of Naziansus “Deus sitit sitiri”, “God is thirsty for us to thirst for Him” so that by finding us willing, he might meet us.
Responding to God’s call
What if He knocks on your door today? When the Lord calls us to Himself, He does not want compromise or hesitation on our part, but a radical response.
God has not stopped calling
God has not stopped calling, and he does not tire of coming to meet us as the shepherd seeks the lost sheep, as the woman of the house seeks the lost coin, as the father seeks his children.
If you only lower the volume on other things and raise the volume of your greatest desires, you will hear it loud and clear within you and around you.
God continues to call and patiently awaits from us the same response that Our Lady gave: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38).
If you have the courage to leave your securities and open yourself to Him, a new world will open up for you; and you, in turn, will become a light for others.