Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Most of you have been faithful Catholics throughout your lives. You have attended Mass weekly from looong time ago. You have lived moral lives and searched for ways to serve our Lord, particularly in your families. Most of you do not just come to St. Vincent on Sundays, you pray everyday! As human beings you fall, but you also rise up again through the sacraments. Most of you are very happy to be members of the Catholic Church. You see how the Holy Spirit continually works in our Mother the Catholic Church. Of course you have been disappointed by those priests and religious who have not been faithful to their vocations, but for every one who has caused scandal you know of hundreds of others who have been good servants of the Lord. In short: you know that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by the Lord and has been faithful to Him for two thousand years[1].

But then you also see how the Lord is working in other faiths. Just right here, very close to our community there are Christians, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and any other church, people who are living for God, serving Him in the poor… We have to be very conscious to the fact that the Spirit of God is alive and working through those within the Catholic Church, and those who themselves do not share in the seven sacraments or might not even believe in Jesus Christ.

We just heard something similar in the first reading: Eldad and Medad were not in the tent. They weren’t present with the 70 who received the Spirit back in the days of Moses. Yet, Eldad and Medad still received the Spirit and he Spirit still empowered them.

My brother, my sister, the Spirit is present in the Church. Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament. But the Spirit is also present where we, foolish human beings with our feeble attempts to limit God’s power, least expect to find Him.

Eldad and Medad, the man baptizing in Jesus’ name: no one can control the Spirit. He is God, the action of Love that has been unleashed upon the world through the Gift of the Father and the Sacrifice of the Son is so huge!

The salvation brought in Christ through the Spirit works beyond the Church's frontiers.

So, Father, what then, is the Catholic attitude towards the followers of other religions? Well, we accept them as fellow human beings and we respect their religious faith and we seek to understand and appreciate all that is beautiful, good and true in their religion. We also wish to share the fullness of the Christian faith with them–not obliterating their culture and religion, but allowing it to be fulfilled and completed in the belief and practice of Christianity. In this process we do not wish to impose anything on anyone. We propose we do not impose. Neither do we condemn anyone to hell. No Catholic–not even the pope–can pronounce judgment on anyone’s eternal soul. That is God’s job. This allows us, therefore, to be perfectly tolerant and accepting of all.

The invitation for this Sunday is to be simple of heart, and not think that we own the monopoly of salvation. It's great to think that God's Spirit blows where it wants and gives salvation to whom He wants.

This evening [morning] we thank God today for the wonders of the Holy Spirit, in our lives, in our parish and in the world. We thank God for being born in the Catholic Church or received into it there; we also thank God that He continues to pour out His spirit around the earth and calling everyone, absolutely everyone, to Him ■

[1] Sunday 30th September, 2012, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Numbers 11:25-29. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. Ps 18(19):8, 10, 12-14. James 5:1-6. Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 [St Jerome].

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris