Again, as we reflect on the mirror that Sacred Scripture is, we can see the remarkable parallel between the experience that Moses has that is recounted in the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers and the experience that the Lord Jesus has in the Gospel of Mark. Moses, as we know, foreshadows the Lord Jesus. It is to him that God gives the Law. Moses is the most important figure in the history of Israel. Indeed, he is the Lawgiver. However, since the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament, we can clearly see that the Lord Jesus is greater! Jesus is not just the Lawgiver; He Himself is the Law. Unlike Moses, who represents God when he speaks to the people of Israel, Jesus is Himself God as he speaks the words of God to the Israel of his day. Both Moses’ experience and our Lord’s experience speak the word of God to us today and we, especially those of us who are priests or who are involved in an apostolate in pastoral ministry, need to pay attention!

In the Book of Numbers, Moses is approached by a young man who is outraged that two men were not present when some of Moses’ spirit was shared with the 70 elders who were prophesying. Eldad and Medad are doing good works, speaking in truth the word of the Lord to the people and even Joshua, son of Nun, the future judge, the one who will succeed Moses in guiding and guarding Israel, is shocked and dismayed. Moses, filled with the spirit of wisdom that can only come from the Lord and that can only come from the experience of a long, holy life, calms the fear of those who are jealous of Eldad and Medad for Moses’ sake.

Likewise, in the Gospel, the Lord Jesus, who is Wisdom Himself, encounters another young man, the beloved disciple, John the Apostle and future Evangelist. John, filled with the zeal and intensity that can only come from youth and vigor, like Joshua and the young man from the Book of Numbers, is scandalized that there are others who are healing and driving out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus, ever the kind and gentle Master and Lord, is able to take the awkward situation of correcting his youthful apostle and use it as a supreme moment about catechesis and the responsibility we who are involved in priestly ministry and those aiding in pastoral apostolates in the Church to set the good example.

Do we, in our priestly ministries, and for laity, your apostolates, get possessive? Do we not want to share what we do with others? Jealousy and rivalry in ministry can be a scandal to the people whom we wish to serve and can be a millstone that, if we succumb to the temptation, will lead us into Gehenna. Pray that the Lord Jesus, meek and humble of heart, can make our hearts like unto his, and pray that more will come to prophesy and drive out the demons of sin and despair in his name.

Father John P. Cush, STD, is a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn. He serves as the academic dean of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. Father Cush is the author of “The How-to-Book of Catholic Theology” (OSV, 2020).