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26TH Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him." (Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48)

Read these words closely by the disciples: "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him." Notice how disgruntled the disciples behaved when they observed someone driving out demons in Jesus's name. Were they enraged because someone displayed a deeper faith than them? Was this an act of faith they yearned to experience but were frightened by the demons? Why didn't the disciples combine their belief in Jesus' name and witness to the Spirit by being co-workers in the vineyard? After all, the scriptures say, "Give praise for his mighty deeds, praise him for his great majesty" (Ps. 150:2). Instead of showing support by praising God, they attempted to block someone from being healed by telling Jesus. Some call this a blessing blocker and not a blessing maker.

For years now, the Church has urged the laity to manifest the Spirit to encourage the Church's growth. Pope Francis said, "Beginning with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the Church has come to a renewed appreciation of the importance of lay involvement in the work of evangelization." The Church knows "the Spirit is calling men and women to set out and encounter all those who are waiting to discover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Christian faith. It is the task of pastors to support them in this process..." (See resource below)

Unfortunately, some Church leaders mirror the disciples in the Gospel today; perhaps they feel threatened in their ministry by the laity. We see this same behavior in our Old Testament reading from Numbers. The elders complained about Eldad and Medad prophesying outside of the tent when the Spirit rested on the elders. Moses asked, "Are you jealous for my sake?" Here we must recognize that some Church leaders and even elders in the Church can be blessing blockers.

For this reason, Jesus said, "There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us." St. Paul also said, "And no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3). Through the sacrament of Confirmation, the laying on hands, we need to set ablaze the Holy Spirit residing within us. St. Paul said it best, "I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control" (2 Tm. 2:6-7). When we manifest the Holy Spirit, we will minister in Jesus' name and be a blessing maker to God's children. We can drive out demons, regardless of what the Church leaders and the elders say, as long as we do it in Jesus' name. We can use our spiritual gifts to be blessing makers.

Don't be a blessing blocker, be a blessing maker.





May 10, 2021

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