Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14
Whoever is not against us is for us. (Mark 9:40)
In the first reading, we see how Eldad and Medad created a mess. According to tradition, prophets had to go to the tabernacle outside of the camp in order to receive their prophetic words. But here were Eldad and Medad prophesying in God’s name within the encampment. Joshua told Moses to stop them. But Moses replied, “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” (Numbers 11:29)
Moving forward some twelve hundred years, we find John telling Jesus that a man was casting out demons in his name. John wanted to stop him, but Jesus seemed to have no problem. Let him go, even if it gets a bit messy, for “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40)
Why couldn’t Joshua look at the prophetic words uttered by Eldad and Medad rather than focusing on the protocol? Why couldn’t John, who admitted that this stranger was successful in casting out demons, rejoice in his success and believe that this man had been given a gift from God?
Now, move forward to today. We have all heard Pope Francis calling us to create a “mess” in the Church. He has urged us to go out and reach individuals in their needs. “We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities,” he said, “when so many people are waiting for the Gospel.” We like to have things neat and tidy in our parishes, but the Holy Father is asking us to embrace the messiness that comes when we place mercy, kindness, and love ahead of propriety and tradition.
Of course Pope Francis honors tradition. Of course he loves truth. But he weeps over the condition of all of God’s children. That’s why he asks us to create the kind of mess that Jesus created when he welcomed a Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), a much-divorced woman (John 4:4-42), a prostitute (Luke 7:36-50), and a tax collector (19:1-10). So go out there, and get your hands dirty!
“Here I am, Lord! Send me!”~WAU