7th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jas 4:13-17
Beloved: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”– you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.” But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.
Gospel: Mk 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.”
“For whoever is not against us is for us.”: Privatization of common property is a general tendency of human beings. Feeling disquiet when others also enjoy the common good especially when it does not in any way reduce one’s share of enjoyment is a sign of jealousy and intolerance which may not appear as such but dressed in some value costumes. Jesus is not a private property of the Church or the Christians but he is a gift of God the Father to the entire world. In today’s gospel, Apostle John is uncomfortable that someone who does not belong to the group is driving out demons in Jesus’ name and he tries to prevent him. Jesus’ answer to Apostle John is an instruction to each one of us,” whoever is not against us is for us.” Do I have this attitude in my life?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to be broadminded and generous
ALL IN JESUS NAME: The disciples of Jesus continue to misread the mind of their master. They question Jesus concerning an exorcist who is not one of them and is casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and was not following them. Perhaps the disciples are anticipating that Jesus would rebuke such a person, but Jesus uses the occasion to teach the disciples. Waging the battle against Satan, demons or unclean spirits is a central theme in Mark. Demonic possession is overcome in the name of Jesus, which is what this unknown exorcist was doing. Jesus’ teaching moment comes in his words to the disciples: ” Do not prevent him. For whoever is not against us is for us” (9:39-40). Jesus’ battle against Satan and ongoing presence of evil takes all the resources possible: “Whoever is not against us is for us” (9:40). Not only is Jesus’ ministry against the powers of evil, but his ministry is a pattern for all who reach out in love to the neighbor. Serving the neighbor is not to gain reward but to live in response to the neighbor and serving out of love and in the name of Christ.