The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.30
Be Accepting of Others
The reading for today comes from a period when the church was experiencing division.
Remember this, the authors of Mark’s gospel, wrote it at least fifty years after Jesus died. Twenty years after Paul wrote his letters, and at least ten years after Jerusalem and its temple had been destroyed by the Roman’s, and the last of the disciples had died.
At this point in time the Church was in a precarious state. It was seen by most to be a minor sect of Judaism, one that was being lawfully persecuted by the traditional elders of Jewish synagogues throughout the Empire.
In reality it had spread well beyond Judaism, and the Pharisaic movement within Judaism which had nurtured it. Christian movement had spread across North Africa, into Rome, North into Gaul, and across Asia Minor.
It was just as much gentile as it was Jewish.
There were many groups who believed they had the authority to teach, even though they were not connected to the Church through the mode of Apostolic succession.
The message from the reading is not that the “heirs” of the church should run down those who they do not see as having a legitimate claim to teach in the name of Jesus, to obstruct them, but to accept common cause with them, and advance in the way.
Do not stop anyone from working a miracle in my name
John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.
‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.
‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time