Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:38-40
In today’s Gospel, the Apostles see someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and they try to curtail his efforts because he’s not one of them. When Jesus hears of this, he tells his disciples to let the man continue, because no one can do great works in his name while at the same time being his adversary. “For whoever is not against us, is for us,” he tells them.
Jesus isn’t mincing words here. He’s clearly telling his followers – including us – that there is no in between. Either you are Jesus’ friend or his foe. If you are his friend, you must do all you can to imitate him in every way. If you are his foe, well, look out.
We cannot follow Jesus sometimes and sometimes not. We have to follow him all of the time.
If we are for Jesus, we will be able to do great works in his name. That can be anything from praying well to casting out demons. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we will be given all good things intended for us by the heavenly Father. When we act in Jesus’ name, our actions will be holy and fruitful, even if they don’t result in exactly what we originally intended. In Jesus’ name, all things are possible.
In this Gospel, Jesus also is warning the Apostles against being exclusive and prideful. It seems as though they believed only they should be able to do mighty deeds. How dare anyone else claim to be as “powerful” as they are!
Jesus’ admonishment stops them in their tracks. I can imagine their jaws dropping when they heard it. Perhaps they never considered inviting anyone else into the ministry before that moment.
Perhaps we’re a bit like the Apostles. Perhaps we, too, think that only we should be able to do mighty deeds. We might never before have considered inviting anyone else into our ministry. How can we change that?
Jesus, I want to do mighty deeds in your name, but I also want to learn how to encourage others to do the same. Please show me how.
Copyright 2014 Marge Fenelon