Today’s Thoughts: We find a very short gospel from Mark today and it contains a very interesting little story. It is a story that fits well with the realities of our life and with the Old Testament reading too.
John is concerned that someone else is driving out demons in Jesus’s name. Basically, he is suggesting to Jesus that he protect his turf and make clear that he or one of his trusted disciples are the only fully vested drivers out of demons. However, as always Jesus sees the big picture. Driving out demons, healing the sick, feeding the poor or whatever other work of charity one might do is a good thing no matter who authorizations it. We sense Jesus’s puzzlement with disciples. So, he pronounces one of the most famous and gentle rebukes in the Scriptures: “For whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40)
Wouldn’t it be great if we could always see the world this way? Unfortunately, our view of the world is often the way the disciples see it. If they are not in line with the teaching, the dogma, the doctrine then they are really against us. This failing is as human as it is inevitable as it is ancient.
We most often gravitate towards our own needs and satisfaction and have a hard time being truly “other aware.” If this unauthorized person is driving out demons and giving relief to others in Jesus’s name, then how possibly could the work of Jesus and his disciples be diminished? What good would come of stopping him and not allowing him to do his good works for other people?
Oddly enough, we seem more concerned with who gets the credit than we do with who benefits. Deep inside, we often would prefer that half as much good be done if we could get all the credit than if twice the good were to be done with the credit shared. So here we must imitate Jesus and worry not about who is getting the credit but rather about whether God’s work is being done. As Sirach the sage tells us in our first reading trust in God’s wisdom.
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...