Christian way of tolerance and intolerance…

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Numbers 11:25 - 29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied. Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, " Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’aide, said, "Moses, my lord, stop them." 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!"

James 5:1 - 6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.

Mark 9:38 - 43 , 45 , 47 - 48

At that time, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"

The mission that Jesus has entrusted to his disciples is to be accomplished in a collective and collaborative way. It must not be privatized or controlled by an elite group of individuals. We cannot exclude others because we are all members of the same Body of Christ. We share the same common mission and contribute to it in an unique way according to the talents God has given each one of us. Jesus calls all people to be his disciples and to share the same mission in spreading the Good News. As such, we need to have a grander vision and a more inclusive mentality as Jesus does: “For he that is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40) Jealousy and intolerance have no place in the realm of the Kingdom of God.

Besides working with fellow Christians, we are encouraged to work also with other people with different religious backgrounds and non-believers in doing good works because we are all God’s creation and share the same humanity. That is the true spirit of ecumenism and of the Gospel.

There is only one exception to this inclusive mentality. That is, we must never collaborate with evil. While we must work together to bring other people into God’s sheepfold, we ought to be vigilant not to become a stumbling block for others in their pursuit of truth and Christ. Jesus uses the analogy of the great millstone and of the bodily dismemberment to illustrate the seriousness of leading others astray and indulging oneself in sinful acts (Mark 9:42-47) (ref. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible). If there are any stumbling blocks preventing us from attaining holiness, whether they be bad habits or even bad close friends whom we cannot change, we need to take drastic measures to “cut them off” (Mark 9:43,45). Otherwise, they will be like tumours causing us and in turn others to sin and to turn away from God. We need to take firm and decisive actions on this serious matter if we are determined to follow the path of Christ and to bring others to Him.

Posted: September 27, 2015

Paul Yeung

Executive Director of Fountain of Love and Life (FLL).

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