Outside the Lines

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September 30, 2018 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

September 30, 2018
Numbers 11:25-29
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Fr. George Smiga

Francine was a bright, outspoken six-year-old who often surprised her parents with her insightful remarks. So much so, in fact, that at times her parents would push her a little, just to see what she would say. One day Francine was working on her coloring book. She was coloring a picture of a puppy, and she was coloring the puppy bright purple. When she finished her work, she went to her mother and said, “Look at my picture.” “Wow,” her mother said, “I really like that color.” But then, just to see what Francine might say, her mother said, “Francine, look: here and here you’ve colored outside of the lines.” Francine looked at her picture, then she looked at her mother, and then she said, “But Mom, this purple is too beautiful to stay within the lines.”

I think that God would identify with Francine’s attitude. God knows that the good things he wishes to give us are too beautiful to stay within the lines we have drawn. In today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers, God gives his spirit not only to the seventy elders who are assembled to receive it, but also to two others who are outside of that group. In today’s gospel, God gives his healing power not only to the twelve apostles but also to another person who is outside of Jesus’ company. This shows our God to be a God of generous abundance. God knows that the good things he has to give are too beautiful to be limited to only a few people and places. This means that we should expect God’s blessings, even if at times we do not feel that we are the right people or that we are in the right place.

At school, you might not be in the most popular group, the group that everybody admires. But God’s love is too beautiful to be limited only to that group. Already God is acting so that you might find friends in your own group, friends with whom you can share your life. At work, you might not be the star salesman or the person that everyone looks to in the office. But that does not mean that God has forgotten you. God continues to be with you to make sure that your efforts will support your family and that your work will make a contribution. When you see that something is wrong and needs to be changed, you may not have the outspoken quality of this person or the courage of that person, but God is still with you to help you find your own voice, so that you can speak out and insist that what is unjust must be changed.

We live in a world of groups, boundaries, and divisions. But God’s love is too beautiful to abide by any of these. God delights in blessing us. God delights in coloring us with his Spirit, whether we find ourselves standing inside or outside the lines that have been drawn.

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