Good Scandal! Bad Scandal! | Word from the Shepherd No. 148

26th Ordinary Sunday B
Num.11:25-29; Jm.5:1-6; Mk.9:38-48

Spread wide your tent”, said Isaiah. “Cast wide your nets”, Jesus once said. Today Pope Francis invites us “towards an ever wider WE”. It is a call to embrace all, expand our circle and extend love to those who not like us.

Remember the Migrants, the Refugees and the Victims of Human Trafficking.

If the Church is not inclusive, then we are a scandal… a bad scandal.

Moses, James and Jesus caused a scandal. At a time, when class, caste, cult and customs were so deeply guarded and protected, they shocked the people’s beliefs and values. In fact the Good News defied the norms and upset the established order. The good scandals?

  1. The Spirit includes all. The Spirit that was with Moses rested on those inside and outside the tent, moving them to prophesy.
    Moses scandalised them even more, by his generosity in sharing the Spirit, his delight in the exuberant manifestation of gifts, and his desire that all were prophets, exercising the gift of the Spirit.
    The watchers recognised the outburst of freedom, energy and illumination.
  2. The Spirit is borderless. Jesus was unconcerned, was tolerant and showed boundless mercy. He recognised goodness and doing good.
    Again, His stand scandalised many because he saw their faith in Him, approved their good works though they belonged elsewhere.
  3. The Spirit endows us with blessings. They are the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gifts and other wealths.
    James scandalised the uncaring, indifferent, abusive and exploitative rich, who thought that wealth is for flaunting, and for their self indulgence.

But bad scandals are breed poverty, discrimination, injustices and exploitation.

The bad scandals:

  1. The Unwelcoming Church. Among the many scandals, the Christians, then and now, had forgotten their Christian social responsibility to the poor, the workers and the innocent. They had forgotten that the church welcomes, protects, promotes and integrates the “strangers”.
  2. The indifferent World. The world, the governments easily do not recognise the blood, sweat and tears of foreign workers, the documented and the undocumented, the migrants and refugees. There is coldness, prejudice and victimisation to the mentioned, the women and the young. They prosper us but we “prostitute” them.
  3. The Stumbling Block to the Young. The sexual scandals in the Catholic Church, the paedophile cases, the depriving the young of their exploring phase, and the advent of computer have created a dis-connected young church. We have a new generation that fears to kick this addiction, overly internet dependent, losing their  power of concentration, and love for reading habits. They are reluctant to be included.

They are the little ones, the simple faithful, the young and the impressionable and the strangers. Are they for us or against us? Observe them if they are good , they do good, and they are not against us?

This is how God wants us to see them, the different from us:

  1. The Spirit, the graces, the blessings and gifts that rest with us, is also  for others inside or outside your tent. It is for sharing.
  2. The worker (could be a migrant, a Christian or not) is Christ, to whom you and I stopped to give a cup of water.
  3. When we did it  to them, we did it to Christ and  became a “Wider WE”, an inclusive person.

Good Scandals Open Us Up . Bad Scandals Make Us Close Up.