Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
When we find ourselves in a leadership position, especially ministerial leadership positions, there are a couple of traps that we need to avoid, traps that are very easy to fall into. Indeed, we can fall into these traps almost before we realize it. First, we have to be careful not to take ourselves too seriously. We have to avoid becoming too self-important. We can easily place ourselves on a pedestal, thinking we deserve to be there, that people should look up to us, because after all, aren’t we important? Climb up on that pedestal, and find out how far down the trip can be. You aren’t that important. It’s not about you, something we can forget. The other trap is even more insidious, and in some ways harder to avoid. People around you begin to think you are important, more important than you really are, and they place you on a pedestal. Suddenly, to them, everything is about you, not about the mission, not about God. Then you, as leader, have to recognize what is happening and get off that pedestal as fast as possible. Moses recognized this. Eldad and Medad were prophesying, even though they were not part of the group around the tent. Joshua urges Moses to stop them, but Moses avoided the trap. “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!" Moses recognized that it wasn’t about him, it was about God. Why would he stand in God’s way, just to be important in the eyes of other people? Moses knew that he didn’t matter, only the word of God mattered, and the spreading of that word. In the Gospel john rushes to Jesus to inform him of a man driving out demons in the name of Jesus. Stop him, he doesn’t follow us, he’s not one of us. He’s not special, like we are. Jesus turns to John and says why stop him? If he were against us he couldn’t do these things in my name. Jesus wanted his followers to see that it wasn’t about them, about status, about being important, it’s about spreading the Good News. Spreading it every way possible. Everyone is called to spread the Good News of God. The Gospel is not something left to someone else, someone we may want to place on a pedestal, someone we want to surrender our responsibility to. We are all called to spread the Word, top spread the Good News. The Spirit that rested on Eldad and Medad, the Spirit that came to the Apostles, is the Spirit we share, the Spirit that calls us to stay off the pedestal, the Spirit that calls us to avoid putting someone else on that pedestal, the Spirit that calls us to speak, to be bearers of the Word, to spread that word to the world.
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sept. 27, 2009