Gospel – Mark 9:38-43, 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 if 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.'”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
In this Gospel reading, Jesus addresses two kinds of scandals: those caused by good and those caused by evil.
On the good side, Jesus says that there is no one who will use his name to do powerful things one minute and speak evil about him the next. Jesus’ disciples felt that the “do-gooder” should be “one of them”. Jesus turned their objection to a question of discipleship. No matter how small the kind act, no one who does good in the name of Jesus should be stopped. Anyone who did not oppose Jesus and his movement were considered potential friends and benefactors.
But what good were the disciples inside the movement doing? Were the actions of the disciples causing scandal to the “little ones”? Scandal among the congregation or the leadership caused dissension, discord, and disunity. It could destroy the Church to a far greater extent than any outsider.
What is the “good” we are called to do? How can we be sure we do this good “in the name of Jesus?”
Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s Fourth Meditation (196.1) for Time of Retreat says “Earnestly ask Jesus that his Spirit may be alive in you.”
Ms. Margaret “Peggy” Perkins
Director of Campus Ministry – Christian Brothers Academy-Syracuse
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.