Reading: But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. Mark 9:39-40.
Good morning, happy Wednesday, and many blessings my dear family.
Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:38-40) begins with John saying to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw a person who was driving out demons. We tried to stop him because he does not follow us.” Are the disciples a bit jealous of this person’s ability to drive out demons? Do they want to have this kind of power? Jesus says to John, “Do not prevent him. If someone performs a good deed in my name, then who can speak ill of me?” Then Jesus adds: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”
Today Jesus is giving us an important instruction. He is telling us that anyone who is not against us is for us. Typically, most human beings know which individuals support them. However, we also know which people may struggle with us, dislike us, or ignore us. We may allow these individuals to disrupt our internal peace and harmony. As human beings, many of us may care too much about what others think of us. Jesus, however, wants his disciples to be truly free. He does not want them to be jealous of others or to covet another’s abilities and gifts.
Jesus clearly wants his disciples to appreciate their own gifts and gifts of others as well. Life is not a competition, yet many of us live as if it were. Today if you find yourself being critical of another person’s actions, words, and being, STOP! Take a moment, breathe, and then change your reactive thoughts and your judgment. You may find that you feel more peaceful, relaxed, and calm. Judgment poisons our minds and our hearts. Release your judgment and relax and be at peace!
No other religious leader in history insisted more clearly than Jesus Christ, that what we do in this life will have eternal consequences. The good things we do, even something as apparently insignificant as giving a cup of water, will not go unrewarded. On the other hand, our unrepented loveless actions have consequences.
The central message for us today is that the followers of Jesus are not meant to be an exclusive group or private club which despises the good work that others do. We are encouraged to work with other Christians, and indeed with anyone of good will. The old slogan, ‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’ was a stumbling block to many good people and must be left aside. Arrogance has no place in the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit blows like the wind wherever it pleases and is at work incognito in every heart. God has a large imagination and labors to orchestrate all things for the world’s good. Discipleship is not some personal privilege to be jealously guarded. We have no monopoly on Jesus.