Reflection: 30th September 2018

A Reflection for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK 9: 38-48 ( ) 

A couple of characters, Eldad and Medad, make their appearance in today’s first reading. They are mavericks who cry out, praising God. They are not supposed to do that, according to best practice, as imagined by those who are‘in charge’. They are not ‘authorised’.

Pope Francis caught some grief when he suggested that there was room in our Church for enthusiasts to “make a mess”.

There is a great old story in our Spiritan mythology about Bishop Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp., the great apostle of Nigeria. As a young priest he was appointed to Rockwell College the Spiritan school in Co. Tipperary.  When bringing the football team from nearby Cashel to Cork for a match, he found that the train was cancelled. He promptly hired another! His superiors at Rockwell were not amused, to put it mildly. He found himself ‘sent off’ to the missions for his sins. Thus is history written. We need people to shout out, we need mavericks, we need more Eldads and Medads (not to mention Joseph Shanahans). 

The wise words of Jesus in the Gospel to not stop those who do good in His name need to be taken to heart. We need all the support that we can get. Instead of examining credentials and establishing who is ‘licenced’ or not, let us instead follow the example of those giving the cup of water to those who have none just because we bear the name of Christ.

I can think of so many charities who give what they have to, and share with, others who have nothing just because those people are God’s children, our brothers and sisters. They might not come under the umbrella of governments or ‘authorities’ or the Church, but they are truly “casting our demons” in Christ’s name. 

May the spirit of Eldad and Medad continue to live on in our midst, continue to “make a mess” so that this world of ours can be a better place.

Noel O’Meara C.S.Sp.- Ordained in 1964, Fr. Noel has been a missionary in Ireland and Brazil, and now works with an NGO for Africa which is based in Germany.