John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Was John looking for commendation from Jesus for attempting to stop an exorcist who was not a disciple, but using Jesus’ name? Perhaps he was merely alerting Jesus that others were healing in his name. Was he drawing distinctions from them? We surely know that people can be attached to creating a life of separation, alienation and exclusivity from others. Jesus, however, teaches inclusion of the other and tells us that what one does is what really matters. If one performs good deeds for others, how can that be against what Jesus is teaching? Why should they be excluded?
Pope Francis reminds us that Christians build bridges, not walls. Do we as disciples compassionately embrace the other with love, particularly the poor and marginalized? Do we perform good deeds in the name of Jesus? Are we grateful for the good deeds of others?
—Jim Sweany is a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition. He is associated with the Chicago Region Ignatian Volunteer Corps as a spiritual animator, reflector and Advisory Board chair.
What does freedom mean? It is certainly not doing whatever you want, allowing yourself to be dominated by the passions, to pass from one experience to another without discernment, to follow the fashions of the day; freedom does not mean, so to speak, throwing everything that you don’t like out the window… Let us not be afraid of life commitments, commitments that take up and concern our entire life! In this way our life will be fruitful! So this is freedom: to have the courage to make decisions with generosity…. The more men and women are at the service of others, the greater their freedom.
—Pope FrancisPlease share the Good Word with your friends!