“Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!” This acclamation from Moses in today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers reminds each of us that we have a call from God to be prophets. Our Lord has given us a charism unique to each individual for a particular purpose on this earth.
Turing our attention to the Gospel of Mark, John said to Jesus warning Him about those who were driving out demons in His name. Our Lord responds to John in that familiar line “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.” The significance of this line for us is that it ties back to what we heard in the first reading of the gifts one has received and the reminder of the call we have received to be true prophets.
I want to say something about demons. There are many demons in our world and if we are going to remove them it must begin with us. We all struggle with a demon because demons can take the form of an addiction or attachment to a particular sin (such as alcohol, drugs, sins of the flesh, etc.). How do we address demons…let me go back to my homily for last weekend, “In God we Trust.” Do we truly trust God’s merciful love? For example, a question one must ask, when was the last time one went to confession? If one is not going to confession or it’s been years, then one truly isn’t placing their total trust in God. Now some people struggle with the concept of going to confession because they feel they can go directly to the Lord and seek forgiveness. In light of the priest shortage at the moment of someone’s death if no priest is available I do believe God can act in the extraordinary way, but there is a reason for the sacrament. Reason number one it teaches us humility and allows us to hear with our ears the voice of the priest echo the words of Jesus, I absolve you from your sins. The second reason is because if you have a question or concern you can talk it over with someone who understands your struggles. For you I am a priest, however like I am a professional sinner who needs God’s forgiveness and mercy.
Before one can tackle any demon from the world we first must trust in God’s merciful love. There is an old saying “one cannot give what one doesn’t have.” If one hasn’t trusted in the merciful love of God and experienced firsthand one cannot share it. The second point having received the grace of God then we must be faithful to the mission we have been called. Just by simply living the life to which we have been called, being faithful to the precepts of the Lord which give us joy to the heart and fills us with life, is all we really need to drive out demons. How cool is that! All are called to be prophets, which mean we have to work. Just because we come and sit here every week doesn’t make us prophets. There is more to coming to Church; our faith calls us to respond. God has given us the tools necessary, may we pray for the courage and grace to respond faithfully.