Mission Society of the Philippines



Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48


THE WORLD IN which we live, is not only a globalized world, but also a pluralistic world. Societies now are no longer homogenous. Societies today are becoming a conglomeration of different races, as well as, of religious traditions. We can see in a certain community, not only a Catholic Church stands, but other Christian churches also. This occurrence demands good attitudes in relation to others. Our readings todays have something to say about the proper attitudes towards Christian communities who also believe in and speak about Christ.

Firstly, there is something ‘good’ we can find outside our own community.

In the First Reading, we heard of Joshua who complained to Moses. He told Moses to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying, simply because they were absent from the gathering where Moses bestowed the spirit to the seventy elders. The reply of Moses was, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!

Indeed, Joshua could not accept the two men; he wanted them to be prohibited from prophesying. But Moses reminded him that the task to prophesy is not only the work of the few men. In fact, it is the call for everyone because that is what the LORD wants. Thus, Moses was against ‘exclusiveness’. He reminded Joshua that the proper attitude is inclusiveness.

In the Gospel, we heard of John telling Jesus that he tried to prevent a man from driving out demons (in the name of Jesus) simply because he is not part of them. That man is not a follower of Jesus in a strict sense. What was the response of Jesus. He told John not to prevent him from doing such a thing. His reason, “For whoever is not against us is for us.” For Jesus, the work to driving out demons is not a work of the few. It can also be done by others who do it in the name of Jesus. It is not ‘exclusive’. Jesus wants a sort inclusiveness. So, in that case, tolerance is the proper attitude.

Taken together, Moses and Jesus show a remarkable openness to the possibility of goodness and effective ministry outside the community of disciples. They invite the disciples not to emphasize their sense of distinctiveness and privilege, but to rejoice also in the goodness wherever it exists. There is also some good that we find outside our own community.

Secondly, while we can find something ‘good’ outside the community, an ‘evil’ may exist inside the community. Here, the theme of scandal comes to the fore.

In the Second Reading, we heard of James condemning the rich because of their unjust treatment to laborers while indulging in their rich. In the Gospel, the scandal takes a new form. Jesus warns the older people about their scandalous behavior for this definitely affect the faith of the “weak” or the “little ones”.

Any community consists of strong and weak, people whose faith is mature and people whose faith is still growing. “These little ones” are either children or else simply the more vulnerable in the latter sense: those whose faith can be placed in jeopardy by bad example on the part of the stronger members. 

Jesus is asking His followers to make a difference. Faith is also a way of life in not hindering others, but helping them to grow in it by showing good deeds. Our way of life is a sharing of our faith to another. The older ones should give witness to the faith and should serve as an inspiration to the younger ones. The people who make a difference would become building blocks, rather than stumbling blocks. AMEN.

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