In the Gospel passage Jesus gets mad at the disciples (again) because of their pride (again). Jesus stresses the importance of working together rather than creating conflict with each other. It is better to live life crippled than to cause someone to walk away from Jesus.
Jesus has a wide view of who is for him. The disciples worried that someone was doing good in his name who ‘is not one of us’. This can be a danger of religion: to limit who is ‘for Jesus or God’ and who is against. Our response to the call to faith and holiness is seen not in long hours of prayer or study in any one faith or denomination, but in how we live our lives. Pope Francis wrote : ‘A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelising environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan.’
It is small details of love like ‘giving a cup of cold water’ that express our commitment in faith. This commitment is nourished in prayer and sacrament; our prayer and sacramental life issues in following the way of Jesus in the ordinary relationships of life, and also in a care for the poor, the neglected, and for justice and peace. The reward of Jesus is the joy of being united with him in prayer and in our care and love of others
Gospel Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48
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.’
Lord may I always remember your words that you came to serve not to be served. Let me be like you when I meet my neighbour or friend and ask them “what can I do for you”….