Numbers 11:25-29; Psalm 18(19):8.10.12-14; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43.45.47-48.
** Gospel Reading
John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.
‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.
‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’
I cannot refrain from referring you to this Sunday’s first words of the collect: “Father, you show your almighty power in your mercy and forgiveness …” These words are really impressive. It was this belief that moved our Founder to leave the law studies and go for the priesthood. In n. 5 of his first “Reasons in Favour or Against” the Servant of God was quite clear: “My wish to be completely dedicated to God, he who had suffered so much for my sins”. But this does not seem to be one of the main themes of the coming Sunday. Rather, I am seeing that “we are called to be prophets of justice”.
Was Joseph De Piro a prophet of justice? If he were to write an autobiography he would have undoubtedly put these words somewhere in the beginning:
“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to:
- be a father and a mother to the girls and boys of the ecclesiastical charitable institutes;
- sustain in their various needs the boys and youths of the Birkirkara Oratory;
- see to it that there is a provision for all the needs of the seminarians at the Mdina Major Seminary;
- be a real “Padre” to the members of my Missionary religious Institute;
- help, in their various needs, the families of the girls and boys of the ecclesiastical charitable institutes;
- follow the old girls and boys of these institutes;
- create social assistance to the employees of these institutes, of the Mdina Cathedral School and of the Major Seminary;
- give alms to the many poor and miserable beggars, whether young or old, women or men;
- help the Maltese workers earn a just wage;
- help the Maltese families enjoy a decent living;
- mediate for peace and concord between conflicting individuals or entities;
- keep strong the faith of the faithful Maltese in Malta, whether young or old, women or men;
- rejuvenate the faith of the Maltese migrants, whereever they are; and
- announce God’s love to those who have never heard of it.
The Servant of God was a man whose life was to help others.