Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 26, 2021
Our Catholic Church today has been shaken over and over again by the sexual abuse scandal. Reading today’s Gospel reminds us that scandal is nothing new in the Christian community, as we hear Jesus sanction those who would cause scandal. But today’s Gospel also gives us another teaching of Christ that is also timely in the midst of our current troubles.
Jesus cautions his disciples that they must not obstruct anyone who is working in the name of Jesus. Like Moses in our First Reading, we must welcome the diverse ways God bestows his Spirit among us.
I’d like to think that Jesus is asking us in the Church today to simply stop and listen. It may be difficult to hear those who are critical of how some in authority have acted. It may be hard to listen to the pain-filled stories of the victims of abuse. It may be tough to discern which calls for change are legitimate and the work of the Spirit.
But if we’re to be true to the whole of today’s Gospel, then we need to apply Jesus’ own test: “whoever is not against us is for us.” Voices calling for honesty, compassion, truth, forgiveness, contrition sound a lot like the voice of Christ. May the Spirit help us to listen and discern.