September 27, 2009
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 9:39-43, 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 it 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.'"
Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.
Petition: Lord, grant me universal charity so that I will be ready to collaborate with everyone to extend your Kingdom.
1. Unity in Christ
Saint John protested that others were “driving out demons” in Christ’s name, but his zealous love for the Master needed purification and balance. Jesus invited John to collaborate with others and to leave his territorial attachments. How many times has this happened to us? Whether it be in our parish or our movement or prayer group, we, too, need to be open to working with everyone who believes in Christ. We need to find points of unity with everyone working in Christ’s name. As Pope Benedict XVI said to the Ecclesial Movements gathered in Rome on the feast of Pentecost: “The whole Church, as Pope John Paul II liked to say, is only one great movement, animated by the Holy Spirit, a river that goes through history to water it with the grace of God and to make her life fruitful in goodness, beauty, justice and peace.”
2. All Men of Good Will
Many of the papal encyclicals are addressed to “all men of good will,” which means every person who lives and is open to living in the truth. Jesus sets this standard for universal apostolic outreach. Charity is the mark of a person of good will. Hence the words of Christ: “Whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple--truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42). We, too, must be open to all men and women of good will. When good people witness charity in us, they find themselves attracted to the Church and to Christ. Universal charity is a great way to attract people to the knowledge and love of Christ.
3. The Conversion of Sinners
No one remains outside the reach of God’s redemptive plan, even those who are living sinful lives. It is the compassion of Jesus that leads him to warn us about the evil of sin and the existence of hell. His compassion and universal love for all people drive him to warn his followers that sin must be eradicated from our lives. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” We too must follow Jesus in universal charity and concern for all people. When people sin they hurt themselves more than others. We need to foster a compassion and genuine concern for the good of souls, and not stoop to correcting others because their actions irritate us.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you have saved me from sin. You have called me out of the darkness and into your great light. Help me to follow your example of universal charity. I want to love others as you have loved me!
Resolution: Today I commit myself to making an act of kindness to someone that is outside of my social circle.
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