"Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!” This is the response Moses gave to Joshua, according to today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers. Joshua had reported to Moses that two of the men had begun to prophesy in the camp – an act which Joshua interpreted as challenging the singular authority of Moses. Moses wasn’t jealous about the gift which God had given to him. He had begun to experience the great burden which God had placed on him as the sole leader and prophet for the twelve tribes of Israel. He was happy to share the burden with others! It was necessary that others be appointed to positions of authority and responsibility – and they were given the Spirit of the Lord to enable them to do it. This is still true in the Church today. Although some are called (and ordained) to exercise a particular authority in the Church, all Christians need the grace of the Holy Spirit to strengthen them to fulfill their Christian responsibility. We certainly receive that Spirit and grace in the Sacraments. For example, a man and woman receive grace when they receive the Sacrament of Marriage – grace which helps them be faithful to each other, and to be good parents to their children. We can receive the spirit of the Lord when we pray, or go on a retreat, or do some spiritual reading. In any case, the grace which the Lord gives us is intended for our own spiritual good AND the spiritual good of others.
I have been a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem since 2001. Though the medieval origins of the Order were militaristic (to expel the Muslims who had taken the Holy City by force and to protect Christian pilgrims), the contemporary mission of the Order is spiritual and material support of Christians in the Holy Land. I am in Cincinnati this weekend for our annual regional conference of the Order. I am grateful to Fr. William O’Brien of Cross Catholic Outreach, who is taking this weekend’s Masses in my stead. Please consider supporting the mission of Cross Catholic Outreach.
May God bless you!