God's Voice Comes Forth

09-26-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

From reading the scriptures of the Old Testament we certainly find Moses a surprising person and leader in many ways. We know that he did not want the role that Yahweh gave him. He also required help from Aaron to manage everything. Yahweh also gave Moses 70 Elders who could prophesize and then it was discovered there were two more. Moses was quite happy about these extra Elders. He saw all these peoples as special gifts from God. Some of the Jews were mad that there were these two, but not Moses. Jesus also had the same issue in the Gospel passage we hear today at Mass. There were some people who did not know Jesus personally who worked miracles in His name. Jesus was much like Moses in his response. If one can work miracles in His name, then you cannot be against Him. Jesus did not mind that there were people who were not His chosen few. They had caught the power of the Holy Spirit and were acting for God.

We are constantly told that the Spirit is at work in the world and that it is best that we recognize and accept this. This Spirit calls us to create institutions to serve, honor, and fulfill the human dignity God intends. This can only happen if we are open to the imaginative, lively Spirit. Note that our first scriptural passage and also the Gospel assume that the Spirit is at work in the world. Our role and task is to promote the Spirit in its work through us, and not stifle it.

The passage from the Letter from James tells us to be careful and not to be spirit-killing and soul -numbing in our actions and attitudes. What James said way back then was true and is also true now two thousand years later. He said piling up excessive amounts of money and possessions for their own sake is useless and not worthy of all the effort.

We all can recognize and might even know some highly spirited people. These dynamic people always brighten and enrich our lives and often they challenge our lives and the ways we are living. They clearly are people who sense, know, and see what really matters and attempt to get us to focus on what really matters in our lives. You never know when you will meet a person like this. They come in all varieties of people. Some may be in our faith community and some may not. They simply are in tune with God and they can speak God's mind and words to us. Their technical name is: prophet. Prophets touch our hearts and souls. Prophets are Spirit-filled and Spirit-driven. Their role is not to predict the future, but to remind us of our heritage and values. They are always calling us back to God. They are at the same time both conservative and progressive. Simply, they speak God's will, not our desires.

We know the official leaders of our people. Some of our leaders are prophets, some are not. Not all leaders need to be prophets. However, when we sense we have a prophet among us and that prophet is speaking, we should listen intently. We should remember that God's voice comes forth from the prophet and we should simply listen so that we may come to hear and understand what God is saying to us.