In the first reading from Numbers we hear of the Lord taking some of the Spirit from Moses and bestowing it on the 70 elders chosen by Moses, all of whom began to prophesy. Even Eldad and Medad, who should have been with the other 70 but were not, received the Spirit and began to prophesy. The interesting aspect of this holy encounter is that the Spirit of Moses is not diminished in capacity in any way. In other words, the Lord took some of the Spirit from Moses but Moses lost nothing. It is a testament to the overflowing greatness of God and His Spirit. It can continuously be shared without being diminished.
Moses tells the young man, “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets.” His words were prophetic because in the Sacrament of Baptism, besides being washed of all sins, each of us is anointed as priest, prophet and king.
We become prophets not for the sake of foretelling the future. Prophets of old did very little of that. Their main mission was to proclaim the Truth of God’s message and to warn the people of their impending doom if they did not follow God’s commands. They lived a life of sacrifice while proclaiming the message and calling people back to God. When we are Baptized we receive the same Spirit of the prophets, undiminished in its sharing, and we are anointed to live and share the Good News.
The words of Jesus in the Gospel seem harsh. Who would think of cutting off a hand or a foot or gouging out an eye? Yet, the words of Jesus dramatize the sacrifices each of us is called to make to live and share the Faith without “causing one of these little ones to sin.” It’s not easy. The devil is constantly using our many weaknesses to draw us away but, thanks be to God, there is an infinite amount of His Spirit to help us.