Readings for Wednesday February 23, 2011
Memorial of Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr
First Reading: Sirach 4:11-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: 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.” (Mk 9:38-40)
What if I walk into a baptist church and try to prevent the preacher from preaching? And then when telling my fellow Catholics that I tried to stop the preacher because he does not follow us? Or what if a Methodist tries to stop a mass from going on, and then he tells his fellow Methodist friends that he was only trying to stop the mass because it is different from what they do. Doesn't this just seem like a ridiculous and silly scenario to us? Well this is essentially what we read about in today's gospel. Some of the disciples saw someone driving out demons in the name of Jesus, and they tried to stop him all because he was not a disciple of Jesus. Jesus then drops the line, "For whoever is not against us is for us", letting the disciples know that this man is doing good in the name of Jesus, and should not be stopped.
"For whoever is not against us is for us." This is something that truly gets lost today. So many times there is so much infighting between Christians of different denominations that we spend so much time arguing about what makes us different, rather than focusing on what makes us the same. We must remember, that while we have specific differences, we are all for Christ. We have much bigger enemies out there than each other. The evil one certainly loves to distract us away from our mission of spreading the good news to those who do not know Christ. Not to mention that there are so many groups out there who seek to destroy those things that we hold sacred, such as life, marriage, the family, freedom, and many other things. These are times for us to come together for Christ, not be broken apart.
Today, let us all pray for Christian Unity in our world, that we may all come together as one body for our Lord and be the light that we are each called to be in this world.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and praise you for the gift of our lives and for all that you bless us with. You are our rock and our salvation, in you we place our trust and hope. We pray for our brothers and sisters who are facing persecution, may they be strengthened in the face of evil, and only seek to do your will. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.