Fr. Peter Patrick’s Homily for Sunday, September 26, 2021:
As we come towards the end of the liturgical year, we hear the Scripture readings pointing us toward the end times, judgment and the kingdom of God–asking us to reflect on our relationships with others and with God. The purpose of Jesus coming to the world was to repair those relationships with one another and with the Father that were broken when Adam and Eve sinned.
Now and then, I say we were all created with a purpose and a mission, and we will never go back to our Creator without accomplishing it. Every day is an opportunity to discern that mission. We all struggle by focusing on the differences we have, rather than what brings us together. That focus on differences brings a rift in our Church and in the world. In today’s first reading, from the book of Numbers, we hear Joshua complaining, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” Joshua was concerned because the two were not among the seventy elders who were blessed. Moses said to 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!”
In today’s Gospel, we hear John complaining, “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.” Think about how we Christians and Catholics are so divided, with some people on the left and others on the right.
We are called to give our best and to see the good in others. This story from an anonymous author will help us to understand who we are called to be:
When a newspaper reporter interviewed a farmer who grew Award-Winning Maize each year he entered his maize in the Agricultural Show, it was revealed that the farmer shared his seed with his neighbors. Amazed, the reporter asked, ‘How can you afford to share your best seed with your neighbors when they are entering their maize in competition with yours each year?’
The farmer smiled knowingly and explained, ‘The wind picks up pollen from the ripening maize and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior maize, Cross-Pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my maize. If I am to grow good maize, I must help my neighbors grow a good crop.’
So it is with our lives. Those who want to live meaningfully and well, must help enrich the lives of others. For the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy, must help others find happiness. For the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all. Call it the power of collectivity. Call it a principle of success. Call it a law of life. The fact remains, ‘None of us truly wins, until we all win.’ Know this secret as you grow! In life, when you help the people around you to be good, you surely become the best.