Mutual Support

May 22, 2024
Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

Saint Rita of Cascia—Optional Memorial

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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…” Mark 9:38–39

Why would John and the other disciples try to stop someone from driving out demons? To understand this, imagine the scene. John and the other disciples had come to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah of God. They witnessed Him perform many miracles and change many lives. As a result, they no doubt wanted everyone to discover Who Jesus was and come to faith in Him. But then they encountered someone they did not know, who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name, and they tried to stop him.

Just prior to this passage, we read the story of a man who had brought his possessed son to Jesus’ disciples and asked them to cure the boy, but they were unable to do so. Perhaps the disciples were a bit humbled by their inability to cast out the demon, and then they witnessed another person, not of their company, who was able to cast out demons in Jesus’ name. This might have added to their feelings of weakness and humiliation, and perhaps that is part of their motivation for trying to stop the man from exercising authority in Jesus’ name.

One common temptation that the evil one issues upon the members of the Church is that of internal division. As followers of Christ, we are all entrusted with the same mission, in different ways. We are called to become instruments of God’s grace for the salvation of souls and the glory of God. But sometimes we fail to act in unison and, instead, see our co-workers as our opponents.

Within our Church today, there are plenty of internal divisions that must cease. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this is to make it a priority to focus upon mutual support. Instead of allowing pride to create jealousy toward those who perform “mighty deeds” by the grace of God, we must work to rejoice in every good that we see. This seems like an obvious statement, but pride and feelings of inadequacy are real temptations that lead us to look down upon those who accomplish the will of God in powerful ways. When we see someone doing something good, we often immediately think about ourselves, wishing we were the ones doing the good work. And when God uses another in a powerful way, we can easily be tempted to see our own inadequacies and failings, rather than glorifying God for the good deeds done by another.

Reflect, today, upon the simple truth that every Christian is on the same spiritual team. We are all called to work toward the goals of the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Try to humbly think about those in your life who do this well and consider your attitude toward them. If you see any form of jealousy, envy or criticism, commit to dispel those attitudes. Instead, seek to have gratitude as you rejoice in the many ways that God uses others for His purpose.

Lord of power and might, You accomplish countless good through the generosity and fidelity of Your people. You constantly use all who follow You to bring forth Your will. Please use me, dear Lord, as an instrument of Your will, and help me to always rejoice in the ways that You bring Your grace forth through others. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Saint of the Day – Saint Rita of Cascia

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Featured image above: Jesus teaching his disciples by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib, via Wikimedia Commons