The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

While I might share a last name with a part of the source, I don’t often go to Merriam-Webster for the definition of a term! Given the story of Eldad and Medad found in the Book of Numbers (11:25-29) and proclaimed on this day, it might be appropriate to explore the word “intention.” Five (5) redundant lines are offered for this definition which includes “a determination to act in a certain way (resolve);” the import or significance of what one intends to do or bring about;” “the object for which a prayer, Mass or pious act is offered;” “a process or manner of healing incised wounds;” and “a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge.” Interestingly, its plural speaks of a “purpose with respect to marriage!”

It was the “intention” of the Hebrew community (and of Moses) that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon the seventy elders: the problem is that 68 of them were present at the gathering, and that Eldad and Medad had remained in camp and the Spirit still came upon them! It was the purpose, aim and design of God (all synonyms of intention) that these men, who had been designated for this purpose, would share in this empowerment. Hearing the concerns of the 68 who protested such an empowerment, Moses affirmed what God had accomplished praying that the Lord would bestow his Spirit upon them all!

In the Gospel (Mark 9:38-43), John (presumably speaking on behalf of the 12) raises a similar concern regarding a man who, using the name of Jesus, expels demons. Jesus immediately reminds John of the “intention“ that this man, while not of their company, is most certainly a believer. The “object” of this pious act draws attention to Jesus and his holy name. In the end, (and more so in this day and age) there is a deep need on the part of all disciples to share one another’s company. There is also a cautionary note that any of us who use the saving name of Jesus do so in a manner which brings about salvation lest it bring self-condemnation! May the name of Jesus be ever holy in our hearts and on our lips:

We give you thanks, O Lord, for the fruits that the earth given to benefit the human family and we pray that, as the workings of your supreme providence has produced them, so you may cause the seed of justice and the fruits of charity to spring up in our hearts.

May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!

Fr. Bob

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