In this 26th Sunday in ordinary time, the church puts before us a series of passages that should serve to challenge the tendency to restrict the workings of God to what merely conforms to our expectations. This can be seen in the first reading, for even Joshua was preliminarily unable to comprehend the unexpected work of God.
First Reading: Numbers 11:25-29
The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.
Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,Our reading breaks up an account of Israel complaining regarding lack of food in the desert and God’s provision of Quail as well as the sending of a great plague (Numbers 11:1-15; 31-35). In the midst of the people’s infidelity, God moves to help Moses in the task of leading Israel in the desert by granting Moses seventy elders to share in the leadership burden.
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
"Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, "
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said,
"Moses, my lord, stop them."
But Moses answered him,
"Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!"
When the seventy elders gathered around the tent of meeting, God came down in the cloud and took some of the spirit that was on Moses and LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.