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Sunday, September 28, 2003

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26th Sunday Ordinary Time

Numbers 11:25-29
James 5:1-6
Psalm 19
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

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a mortal sin?

"Jesus said in reply, 'Do not try to stop him.' " —Mark 9:39

Jesus speaks of fastening a great millstone around someone's neck and drowning that person (Mk 9:42). Next, He advises John to cut off his hand or his foot under certain circumstances (Mk 9:43, 45). Finally, He tells John to gouge out his eye, if necessary (Mk 9:47). What provoked these extreme statements from Jesus? John tried to stop someone from driving out demons (Mk 9:38). Jesus considers it a mortal sin to try to stop someone from doing His work.

As great as the Catholic Church is, it does not have a monopoly on doing God's work. Certainly, no particular group should maintain that it is the only one doing God's work. The Lord has chosen to work through many different people, even unbelievers (see Is 45:1ff).

Consequently, we must not stifle the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19) by opposing any authentic work of God. Rather, we should encourage anyone serving God and thank them for accepting God's grace. As we appreciate the goodness of others, we can more readily remedy anything lacking in their faith (see 1 Thes 3:10). Encourage and support others who are serving God, or endure the wrath of God.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to give me gifts of discernment and encouragement.

Promise:  "But Moses answered him, '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!' " —Nm 11:29

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the Justice and Mercy of God!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Don't Stifle the Spirit on audio AV 56-3 or video V-56.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard L. Klug, February 27, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2003