A reading from the gospel according to Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
38 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.”
39 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.
40 For whoever is not against us is for us.
41 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.
42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
48 where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”
Reflection: In Jesus’ name
Good News: We will have our reward for doing good.
No single group or institution or religion has the monopoly of God’s Spirit. He is working in the heart of every man and woman, transforming him or her to become His instrument or witness in the world. This is the truth: God loves each one of us regardless of religion. Hence, anyone can be an instrument of God’s power and love. Let us never prevent others from doing the work of redemption even if he does not belong to our organization.
The gospel reading above tells us that anyone who is not against Jesus is for Jesus. Anyone who seeks Him, He will not reject. Thus, who are we to exclude others in the scheme of salvation? Let us not act as if we are above God Himself. Instead of sowing division by arrogating upon ourselves the privilege of salvation, let us work for the salvation of all by recognizing in others the gift of God’s love. “Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!” (Numbers 11:29)
In Jesus’ name, let us all work together, read: cooperate, for the completion of the work of redemption. The task is enormous. Millions of people are still to be evangelized. There is no time for in-fighting or jealousy among the workers. They are only few but the harvest is abundant (Matthew 9:37).
Individually, let us be an instrument for God to bless others. Let us always remember that every good deed, great or small, be it a gesture of giving a cup of water or monetary support to missionaries, is not lost in the sight of God. By allowing ourselves to be a channel of His love and joy to others, we will reap the reward of eternal life. On the other hand, woe to us if we become the stumbling block for others to know Christ. Woe to us if we become the reason for others to fall.
1. The Spirit of God works in mysterious ways. No one really knows how He works among individuals or groups even to those outside the institutional church. Let us be open to new or creative ways of practicing our faith or doing our mission.
2. Jealousy and disunity are the works of the devil. They have no place in the ministry of the Church.
3. Causing others especially the little ones to sin is a serious offense and it does have serious consequences.
4. Our small acts of kindness will be rewarded.