United in Jesus

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Aris Martin SVD (Unites States)

Wednesday 7th Week in Ordinary Time

Sirach 4,11-19
Mark 9,38-40 

In the Gospel, Jesus was approached by John who must have been worried about an “outsider”, somebody not officially belonging to their group, who was expelling demons in Jesus’ name. He even tried to prevent the person from driving demons.

But Jesus, the master teacher said, “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…” Jesus is for unity. Only those who misinterpret Him are divisive. In fact, the litmus test of a real disciple of Jesus is one who works for unity.

Last year, we celebrated 500 years of reformation. I was privileged to make a comment on a talk given by a catholic woman theologian to an inter religious gathering. Initially, I resisted, for I thought how can I celebrate or make a comment on the anniversary of a great division in the church? Then I remembered the message of the speaker, “While our differences are real, they are not church dividing!”

Yes, what we are celebrating is not the division by the differences. As long as we are not against Jesus, differences are raw materials for unity. Only those who believe in Jesus can celebrate differences. Only those who celebrate differences can see what heaven is like, a reconciled diversity.

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