Faith Daily | 23 February 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 540
you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law:
grant that we may love you with our whole heart,
and our neighbours as ourselves;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 9: 38-40
38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Jane Markotsis
Jesus does not jealously protect his power. Rather, he empowers others, of whatever religion or none, and whether they know it or not. He even says that his followers will do greater things than he has done (John 14:12). I am his follower, so he shares his power even with me, and I need it!
Our perspectives can be quite narrow. Our need for affirmation and security can make us try to control situations which we don’t understand well. ‘Whoever is not against us is for us’ has been sadly misused by political leaders down the years to justify excluding those they don’t like. Do I tend to think in an ‘us’ and ‘them’ perspective? Jesus asks rather to be open to those who seem to be different from us. He sees everyone as ‘different’ – unique, special, worthy of inclusion.
As humans we seem to have a need or desire to protect our lot. There can be a strong temptation among us to a kind of exclusivity. Many Christian groups can fall into this trap. As St Paul tells us in one of his letters, the word of God is not bound. God can do his work through all kinds of people – people of all religions and of none. The test is whether what others do fits in with our goals of truth, love, justice, compassion, freedom, peace, non-violence etc. Our God is to be found in all these things. The Church is a way to a further goal; it is not itself the end.
The gospel command to love my enemies is literally heart-breaking, and the task of tackling injustice is daunting. But I am empowered by him to do these things, beyond what I could ever have imagined. The salvation of the world is a collaborative event in which I have a unique role not given to anyone else.
Lord, thank you for making me part of your workforce!
Gracious God, we know you by many names, but still, we are part of one human family, Your family. Open our hearts and minds so that we see Your reflection in the face of every person on this earth. Help us to forge bonds of compassion, dignity, and respect with every person. Guide us to fully grasp that disability and difference never lessen a person’s need for love, friendship, belonging, respect, and for the opportunity to work, contribute, and lead. Let prejudice, stigma, fear, and presumptions never interfere with our ceaseless efforts to assure that each and every person is able to feel the embrace of family, community, and of God. Amen