26th Sunday in Ordinary Time reflection by Kelly Deehan

Have you ever prayed “The Litany of Humility”?  It is one that I aspire to to pray often, but struggle with my follow through. So much of it I find difficult to pray. I feel myself spitting out these words, as if they are a sour taste in my mouth (even though they are good for me). Here are a few of them:
 
“That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.”
 
Ouch.
 
“That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.”
 
This feels extreme.
 
“That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.”
 
Really Lord? Is this even something I should pray for?
 
Can you imagine being Moses in our first reading today? He has been struggling to lead his people and serve the Lord. He has been frustrated with God. And then this happens: 
 
“Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders”
 
The Lord is taking from Moses in order to raise up new leaders. If you were Moses, would you want to take back your complaints? “I wasn’t serious Lord!” you may say. “You can still trust me to lead!” But the Lord was no longer asking Moses to lead alone. How would you react to this news? I know how much I personally love to feel chosen and needed. My heart swells when given a new important responsibility or considered trustworthy. Even my Strengthsfinder results have confirmed it!
 
When I read this passage, I felt a sharp blow. Joshua feels it too. We both stand in shock and sadness for Moses. However, he tells us that is not what he is experiencing at all. Moses sees beyond the narrow view of Joshua and I. While our eyes see a slight or an insult, Moses sees growth. When Moses asks, “are you jealous for my sake?” We want to reply “of course!” I am sure Moses looks at us with an understanding smile. We will get there eventually. 
 
But we struggle to see the multiplication. Why of course we want more prophets! Joshua and I are sensible people after all. But Moses, this is at your expense! The Lord has taken from you to give to them. However, Moses has led these people to this moment of growth. The Lord multiples Moses’s efforts. We too are called to this path of discipleship. Like Moses, we hope to bring others to the Lord, to encounter the Spirit and be transformed just as these new prophets have been. While we are tempted to hold tight to the roles which we have been given, the growth of the kingdom often requires us to eventually step out of the spotlight.
 
Often we may find ourselves on both sides of this situation. Think of the people we consider great leaders, and how content we may be to let them lead everything! We become content to quietly follow, never growing into our new roles like the 70 did in today’s reading.
 
While I so often shy away from the Litany of Humility, I feel as though today I read those sour lines and see Moses. I see Moses who is able to delight in the works of the Lord. Who is able to trust in His ways, even when it no longer feels personally advantageous to do so. 
 
How do you hear the Lord calling you to bring up new disciples today? Are there any roles in your life you feel called to make space for another? Are there any areas where you have been content to observe, but you might be being called into a greater role?