James calls Abraham a “friend of God.” In this week’s reading from Exodus, Moses presumes upon a similar divine friendship to offer God advice.
Season after Pentecost | 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124; (Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; Psalm 19:7-14;) James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50
According to Jesus, chances are good that there's not going to be much left of us once we've admitted to just how often stumbling blocks stand in our way. Whether others put them there or we find ways to place them ourselves, they trip us up, keep us from moving forward, get us off track.
At this point in Mark, stumbling blocks seem a necessary point for conversation. We are good at placing them in others’ paths, and even better at setting them before ourselves.
James reminds us of the duplicity of language, like a matchstick dropped by singed fingers that leaves behind charred acres. The deception of language is that we believe it is innocent.
My Dad was a pastor. He began his ministry in the early 50’s, when mainline churches were growing like weeds and a clerical collar would elicit a discount at the local department store and a complementary membership in the country club. Not so for my son, who has also worked a pastor. He paid full price for his coffee at Starbucks, where he led discussions with Millennials who wouldn’t dream of darkening the door of his grandfather’s church.