Today’s Gospel: Mark 9, 38-40
In today’s Gospel, we meet John and some of the other disciples who are concerned that someone who is not of their group is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus tells the disciples not to stop him. His act of healing is good work, God’s work, and should not be prevented. Jesus is helping his disciples come to a fuller understanding of the ways of God.
We can sometimes be like John and those disciples, not affirming and sometimes not even acknowledging how others who are not of our community contribute to the world’s beauty, truth and goodness. It is tempting for us to think we know how God acts regardless of the number of times we are taught God moves in mysterious ways. Pope Francis has been a wonderful example for us as he respects, encourages and affirms the actions of those of different faiths and of no faith at all; and reminds us that it can be through our good works that we meet each other and heal creation.
I witnessed this sense of hospitality and openness recently in my own parish when another member marveled in gratitude at the generous and caring way a husband who is not Catholic works alongside his Catholic wife and other parishioners in various ministries that focus on caring for the poor.
How fitting that this Gospel is proclaimed a few days following Pentecost when we, in celebrating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, are reminded that God’s Spirit working through diverse gifts renews the face of the earth. Perhaps we need to tap into the Holy Spirit’s gift of reverence to help us recognize and celebrate the manifold ways God’s spirit is at work in our world.
Do I ever look for reasons to diminish or dismiss the work of those who contribute to the healing of our broken world?
Loving God, we pray often for the coming of your Kingdom. Help us to encourage and celebrate all people
who work to make that Kingdom manifest in our world. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Sherry Chapman
Sherry Chapman lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two sons. She is the Adult Faith Animator for the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.