There are many motivations for the actions of our lives. We can be motivated by need or greed, by attention seeking or recognition, selflessness or selfishness, the possibilities are endless. Our intentions may be good or bad. And yet, in today's Scriptures we are reminded that the greatest motivator is the call of the Lord, the greatest intention of purpose is to serve the Lord and those entrusted to our care, and the greatest power lies in our openness to his Spirit and grace.
In the reading from the Book of Numbers from the Hebrew Scriptures, we encounter Eldad and Medad, who were called to be among the seventy elders, but who missed the commissioning ceremony. It appears that they did not do so intentionally. But, wonder of wonders, they too began to prophecy in the camp, much to the consternation of the other sixty-eight, who asked Moses to stop these two. Moses responded by asking them to not be jealous, but rather to long for the day when all of the people of the Lord shared that gift.
Jesus faced the same situation in the Gospel of Mark today when confronted by the Apostle John with the news of a man driving out demons in the name of Jesus. The man was not of their company. John wanted Jesus to put a stop to this "scandal", but Jesus replies "Do not prevent him. 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. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward."
Blessings on those who do the work of Christ for the sake of Christ. But woe to those whose motivations are found elsewhere and who are not selfless and pure. We are called to be Christ for others, to bring Christ to others, and to witness to the message of Christ in the world.
On the 29th of September (today) the Church celebrates the three great Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. They, creatures made in God's likeness, were called into the service of God in specific ways: as champion of God, as herald of good news, and as healer. Yet their collective service of praising God through a life that reflects the glory of God is also part of their call. We too are created in the image and likeness of God. We too have been given life and called to an intimacy that brings with it eternal life. We too are to be his champions, to herald his good news, to bring healing to a broken world. We have been entrusted with the mystery of life and empowered with the Spirit of life in order to join with Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and the hosts of Angels and Saints to stand before the throne of God and sing with all our voices:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD OF HOSTS!
This weekend in the Greensburg Diocese we pray for and support vocations through the Seminarian and Clergy Formation Collection and the Called by Name program. We also this weekend give thanks for a vocation that we have shared in for thirty-five years, that of Lawrence T. Persico, a priest of our Diocese who will be ordained as Bishop of the Diocese of Erie this Monday, October 1st. We are grateful for his YES to priesthood, and we pray for Bishop Persico as he follows in the footsteps of the Apostles.