The Gospel According to Mark 9:38-40
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. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Reflection: According to New Testament scholar Raymond Brown, this part of Mark’s Gospel, is the start of Jesus giving his disciples “a varied instruction pertinent to the kingdom. Mark has gathered here what he envisions as important last communications before Jesus arrives in Jerusalem to die.” These are important words that Jesus is giving to his disciples. There is no better form of worship then to imitate those that we admire. Jesus has done a great job, up to this point, of convincing those around him that he is truly the Messiah as they were told in the old scriptures. Now Jesus is expanding on his teachings to allow them to think and respond to the varying climate around them when He is gone from them.
Think about those that each one of us admire and want to imitate as we were children and even now as we are grown and established in our own lives with our families.
As a young boy my heroes were always those who had superior athletic talents and those who protected others from evil sources. But I also admired and learned from a caring Mother and an outspoken older sister who wasn’t afraid of anything. Through their examples, I learned right from wrong and the way to true love and happiness, not just something shallow and superficial.
The other part of this Gospel is that Jesus pointed out that if someone was acting in his name, that person could not speak against him. Solid relationships rather than individuality become characteristics of God’s Kingdom. Collaboration requires that we be open to others and their ideas rather than being controlling or something trendy.
When we collaborate in charity, we make Christ presence in the world a visible way, for charity is the mark of Christians: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Action of the Day: Lent is right around the corner and it begins one week from today as we receive the ashes on our forehead as the priest or deacon says, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Are you prepared for your Lenten Journey? Let’s use this time to make ready ourselves for the way of the cross.