Sunday, September 27, 2015

Reflection: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

26th Week in Ordinary Time — Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

This Gospel begins as John comes to Jesus and tells him: “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name! We tried to stop him. After all, he is not one of us!” However, Jesus was calm and he had a completely different perspective than John. Jesus told John: “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Did Jesus sense his disciples were concerned they might have to share “the glory” of being followers of Jesus with others who had not been directly called by Jesus?

Jesus tells his disciples that there is no one who could performs great deeds such as driving out demons or healing in Jesus’ name who would speak ill of Jesus. This would be a complete contradiction of the deed they had done. Jesus continues: “If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, that individual will not lose their reward.”

However, Jesus then says that anyone who causes one of His “little ones” to sin will reap his/her punishment. He continues: “It would be better for them if a great millstone was put around their neck and s/he was thrown into the sea.” Jesus continues in this vein for several verses. Clearly, Jesus wants his disciples (and us) to realize what a serious offense it is if we cause one of his little ones to sin. Jesus also gives several graphic examples of the punishment that might be handed out to the perpetrator.

Today may be a good day for us to ask ourselves: do we cause any of the “little ones” to stray from Jesus? We may not be deliberately inviting another person to stray. However, we may subtly or unknowingly invite another to do so. We may be talking with someone and we begin to gossip. Or perhaps we are complaining about work, our co-workers, or the behavior of our children, or perhaps we simply are in a bad mood. The reality is that our attitude and our words affect other people either positively or negatively.

Today may we strive to be a positive and loving presence to each person we encounter. Who knows? This also may help us have a good day!

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