In this morning’s Gospel reading, there is a battle that plays out in every family. Who is the greatest? Who is the least? As my mother’s favorite, I can relate.
Then Jesus takes a child and makes some comments about having the faith of a child and about receiving the Word like one receives a child. But that is not my favorite part of the passage. Here are my favorite lines:
Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
You have to love a guy who wants to stop other people from doing that which is good and holy because that person doesn’t “follow in our company.” It’s like the party on the left yelling at the party on the right for doing what is right but going about it the wrong way. Or the people at work who accomplish a great task but get criticized because they didn’t go about it the way we would have. What kind of world would it be if we all kept our eyes on the Light and not on the path we took to get there?
I think this is what Pope Francis is talking about when he says, “The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them. We are all called to be witnesses, but there are many actual ways of bearing witness.” (Gaudete et exsultate, 11)
This week let us be witnesses. Let us refrain from imitating others and be faithful to the gifts God has given us. Let us not fight about who is greatest or who is the least.
Most of all, let us recognize the good works going on around us and acknowledge that, even though we might have done the work differently, God is present.