Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
We want things to last; a lasting legacy, a lasting monument, a lasting experience of joy. We place a high value on permanence. This makes James’ warning in today’s second reading all the more dire. We have treated temporary things like they were permanent, and will be held accountable for this. Jesus likewise warns us: even good things can cause trouble. We should even be willing to separate ourselves from these things if Heaven and its permanence is something we truly value.
The idea of entering into Heaven sounds daunting, but we make it far more difficult than it needs to be. Both Moses and Jesus had followers doing great things for God, and other followers were asking them to put a stop to it. Two of the Israelites in the first reading weren’t in the right place when God sent out His Spirit. A person in the gospel didn’t travel with the apostles. Yet God still overcame that problem. Jesus and Moses alike note that God wants to bestow His Spirit to all who will receive it–God is in our corner.
The permanence of Heaven isn’t about us going against God, saying “I was good, even though…” at the final judgement. It is about us embracing the portion of God’s Spirit that God is eager to give us. God is standing by, waiting for our answer. Even if, like Eldad and Medad in the first reading, we aren’t in the exact right spot, God will send His Spirit all the same. They were able to prophesy as much as any other that day, because God’s main desire was sending them His Spirit. God likewise wants to give each of us His Spirit. Can we accept God’s Spirit, and accept the one thing that will truly last?