Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Roseanne Murphy, SNDdeN
September 26, 2021
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
The readings of today are both comforting and deeply disturbing. The theme of the first reading points to the power of God’s grace in those who work through the spirit of God, not only through a certain individual.
Moses tells Joshua not to condemn two of his followers who were prophesying in the camp instead of at his tent and adds, “Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all.” It is not Moses who inspires, but the Lord.
In the second reading, James warns the rich saying, “Your wealth has rotted away…” and describes what will happen to those whose riches came by way of their unjust treatment of their workers. He tells them to “weep and wail …” The gospel, too, is disturbing. John was worried about someone who wasn’t following Christ but was driving demons out of people in Jesus’ name. We flinch as we hear Jesus say of the person who causes another to sin, “It would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” And he goes on, “It would be better to cut off any part of your body; your eye, your foot, your hand that causes you to sin rather than to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.”
On a more hopeful note, the Lord reassured John that “whoever is not against us is for us and anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ. Amen, I say to you, that person will surely not lose his reward.”
Kindness and goodness always bring a blessing to a good person; the act is not overlooked by Christ whether the person is a follower or not. In the end, Jesus reassures us that: it is out of love that he warns us.
Rather than allowing ourselves to be discouraged over the threatening messages, let us focus on the hopeful words of today’s Responsorial Psalm, “God is my helper… God upholds my life.”
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
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.
“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. 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. 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. 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, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”
The Gospel of the Lord