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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Sept. 30, 2012

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

September 30, Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B Readings

Numbers 11:25-29

Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14

James 5:1-6

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

I run a summer service camp called Camp Fort Worth. It has made a significant impact on the lives of teens for about 15 years. Students from a local Catholic high school are regular participants in the camp, while some of their classmates attend another camp called Life Camp.

In the first few years of Camp Forth Worth there began a bit of a rivalry among student groups to determine which one was the best camp. The funny thing is that each set of students had only been to one of the camps; each assumed their camp experience was the best. I had been to both camps and know they are both great.

When I began to hear the "my-camp-is-better-than-your-camp" talk, I did my best to quash it. I said I would stop doing Camp Fort Worth if such talk continued. I explained that each camp, in its own way, brought people closer to Jesus and were both valuable. I even suggested to Camp Fort Worth folks that they try Life Camp. Some eventually did.

For some reason, when we experience good things and we hear about others experiencing similar good things that are not our own, we become jealous. Moses and Jesus each encounter similar situations in this week's readings.

Moses was the leader of the Israelites when God called 70 other men to become elders for the community. God's spirit fell on them and they began to prophesy. Two of the 70 were not at the meeting and were later seen prophesying among the people. Some of the people who had been at the meeting were not happy that these men who missed the meeting still received the gift of prophecy.

Similarly, Jesus' disciples didn't like hearing that other people who were not part of their group were driving out demons in the name of Jesus. Jesus responded: "Whoever is not against us is for us."

I suppose it is in our fallen nature to want to hoard the good things that happen to us. But the divine nature within us calls us to rejoice in others' good fortune.

Instead of jealousy, let's take on the heart of Moses when he says, "Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!"


How can we combat rivalry within our parish? What do you think is at the root of these kinds of situations?


"For whoever is not against us is for us." -- Mark 9:40


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