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. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward."
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.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In this week's first reading, Eldad and Medad did not go out to the tent with the 70 elders. Did they also receive the spirit that came upon the others? Why did Joshua want Moses to stop them from prophesying?
What is the message of James for the rich in the second reading? What does his think will happen to them?
In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to stop anyone doing good things in his name. Why? What does Jesus tell the disciples about scandalizing the innocent little ones?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Life would be pretty boring if we were all the same. Ask everyone in your family or group of friends to think of something they are good at that others aren't. Have everyone demonstrate their unique talent.
The disciples wanted to exclude certain people from doing things in Christ's name. Have you ever been excluded from something? It didn't feel good, did it? Make an effort this week to reach out to at least one person who looks like they could use a friend. Also, make an effort to smile and say, "Hi," to people you pass when you're out walking.