Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
This Sunday’s readings have two main ideas to focus on: God’s gifts of grace and the justice we are called to demonstrate when we have that grace. In the first reading, as in the Gospel, we find that there are people of faith who are doing God’s work outside of what the community sees as the boundaries of these works. In Exodus, we learn of two men who were given the gift of prophecy even though they did not accompany Moses to the ceremony in which the Spirit was to be given. In the Gospel, we learn of people casting out demons in Jesus’ Name even though they were not among the disciples. In both instances, there are people who think this is inappropriate — these people aren’t with us!
But in both instances, God answers that it’s impossible to be against God and truly do His work. The Responsorial Psalm reminds us that when we are filled with the Spirit of God, we cannot keep quiet — our very lives will speak out in favor of the love of God and of His precepts. And the reading from the Letter of St. James reminds us that to deny God’s calling in our lives by refusing to act upon them is to bring condemnation upon ourselves.
Sometimes, as Catholics, we can get a little cliquish. We know the Church holds the fullness of the Faith, and that can lead us to pride rather than to feel humility when we ponder the great gift this really is. I know I’ve been guilty of first looking for fault in a non-Catholic’s faith, rather than seeing that person first and foremost as a brother or sister in Christ. Jesus Himself reminds us that those who love Him are with Him. One of the great mysteries of the Church is the idea that, though salvation is impossible outside the Church, we don’t really know what the Church looks like to God. Our institutional Church is important, but it’s not what comprises the Church when God looks down at the world. I think we’ll all be surprised at some of the people we meet in Heaven!
As a Catholic, I’ve been given special graces through the Sacraments, especially through the Eucharist. Does my life reflect this reality? And am I able to see when someone is doing good, even if they don’t appear to be on “my side”?
Lord, help me to see the good You inspire in others. Teach me to use your Spirit and the graces you provide me to do good works in Your name. Show me how to recognize when others honor You and do Your work.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Christine Johnson