For whoever is not against is for us

A few weeks ago during a Mass I was at, I heard someone ask for prayers for his kids who have fallen away from the Catholic Church, from our faith.  I could tell that this man was in pain because his very own kids, his flesh and blood, had, in his eyes, deserted the Church.  Whether his kids had just stopped going to church all together or were going to some “other” church, we don’t know.  Whether his kids didn’t feel nourished by the Catholic Church that his family attended or decided they had enough of the corruption and abuse that we hear so much about today, he was hurt that they weren’t following his choice, they weren’t following his expectations of where he wanted them to practice their faith.

God made us so wonderfully, with so much love, that he created each one of us to question him.  To rebel.  To be a rebel.  To be different.  In our first reading, we hear about the followers of Moses telling Moses that there were people who were trying to be like Moses and therefore, being prophets, spreading God’s message.  Moses said, wouldn’t it be great if all God’s followers were prophets? Moses is speaking about us here.  Wouldn’t it be great if we lived our lives as those who lived to spread the Word? This is what we are all called to do by our baptism, by receiving the Eucharist.  The Spirit impels us to live and preach the Word, the Good News of the Kingdom.

In Mark’s Gospel, we continually hear Sunday after Sunday that his apostles and disciples just don’t get it.  Last week, the Gospel starts with Jesus telling his disciples that he will be arrested, brutalized, killed and in three days, will rise from the dead.  While Jesus is describing this, his friends, the ones he knows he can’t count on, are thinking and arguing about who is the greatest, who is better than the others.  They didn’t get it last week and they’re not getting it this week.  Yet, the Lord Jesus loves them more than they will ever know.  He forgives them, and loves them more, loves us more.

Jesus speaks to us about our egotistic ways of living.  He speaks to us about opening our eyes to the goodness of others.  We Catholics don’t have a good history understanding those we don’t understand.  We have caused wars and fought crusades against Muslims and others who don’t believe as we believe.  Today, we kill people with the way we look at them because they’re not as good as us; because they don’t think like us or don’t look or speak like us.  We do that and we can’t hide from it.

At this Mass, let’s acknowledge our sinfulness and those ways that make others sin and hate because of us.  Let’s, you and me, put sinfulness on the altar of sacrifice.  Because of God’s love, poured out on the altar, not just for you and me but for all humanity. Let’s be changed today in how we see others and the good they do.  Even if they’re not part of our faith, or if they are part of our faith but don’t believe as our group believes, let’s bless and pray for them today.  Let’s understand the words of Jesus: if they’re not against us, they’re for us.

Have a wonderful Sunday because this is the day the Lord has made!

Deacon Mike

About Deacon Michael