Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
At that time, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.
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UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Our Catholic Church today has been shaken over and over again by the sexual abuse scandal. Reading today’s Gospel reminds us that scandal is nothing new in the Christian community, as we hear Jesus sanction those who would cause scandal. But today’s Gospel also gives us another teaching of Christ that is also timely in the midst of our current troubles.
Jesus cautions his disciples that they must not obstruct anyone who is working in the name of Jesus. Like Moses in our first reading, we must welcome the diverse ways God bestows his Spirit among us.
I’d like to think that Jesus is asking us in the Church today to simply stop and listen. It may be difficult to hear those who are critical of how some in authority have acted. It may be hard to listen to the pain-filled stories of the victims of abuse. It may be tough to discern which calls for change are legitimate, and the work of the Spirit.
But if we’re to be true to the whole of today’s Gospel, then we need to apply Jesus’ own test: “whoever is not against us is for us.” Voices calling for honesty, compassion, truth, forgiveness, contrition sound a lot like the voice of Christ. May the Spirit help us to listen and discern.
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DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading (Num 11:25-29), the Lord gave some of the spirit that was on Moses and bestowed it on the 70 elders. Then what happened to the elders?
Two others, Eldad and Medad, who were left in the camp, also prophesied when the spirit came to rest on them. Then what did Joshua do? What did Moses say?
In this week’s second reading (Jas 5:1-6), who does the Letter of James say should weep and wail because they were going to be punished by the Lord? Who lived on earth in luxury and pleasure?
Who did the rich murder? Who offered no resistance?
In the Gospel (Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48), John reported to Jesus that “We saw someone driving out demons in your name.” What did the disciples do and what did Jesus say?
Then follows other things Jesus said. Can you name at least two of them?
Does Jesus give extreme examples that sound impossible, like “if your hand causes you to sin cut it off?
Go through your closets and drawers and see if there is anything you are willing to part with and donate to organizations that help those less fortunate.
The Gospel refers to giving someone a cup of water to drink. Have your kids set up a lemonade stand and donate any profits to a local charity. Or buy a case of water to keep in your car and offer a bottle of water to those in need that you may encounter.