John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Lk 9:49-50)
Today’s Gospel message is very similar to the beginning of yesterday’s Gospel from Mark. The disciples came to Jesus and told Him that they were trying to stop others from using the name of Jesus to do good works since the other people did not “belong” to the company of the disciples. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ response was, “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.” Luke’s Gospel conveys much the same message: “Whoever is not against you is for you.”
And yet, we oftentimes see others as “threats” or at least as competition. They might be doing the same thing that we are doing but are doing it better. Or, maybe, they are doing it and receiving less opposition than we get. There could be a variety of reasons; however, the end is typically the same: we try to stop them.
We are not in this alone.
We are very much in this together.
Jesus wants us to recognize our many gifts and talents and utilize them to the fullest. At the same time, Jesus wants us to work together. It is in working together that we show people that the Kingdom of God is a very real possibility in their lives. Living as a people of peace and love and justice shows others the beauty and love of God.
Living as “lone rangers” just leads to frustration.
Do we have to shoulder our own cross? Yes. But we can walk with others who are shouldering theirs as well. We can feed off of each other’s strength and shore up each other’s weakness.
Walk with the Lord — and one another — this day.
FAITH ACTION: When you see someone doing good today, encourage them and thank them.