“Do not stop him”

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“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” How easy it was for the disciples to think that only they were capable of doing good deeds. Like the disciples, we base many of our thoughts and judgments on our limited view point of the group, church, or family we belong to. Perhaps, we question others’ motives and abilities because they are different from ours. Sometimes we are not even aware we do this!!! The following anonymous piece offers insight on how this can happen:

“When the other person acts that way, he’s obnoxious;
When you do it, it’s nerves.
When she is set in her ways, she is obstinate;
When you are, it’s just being firm.
When he doesn’t like your friends, he’s prejudiced;
When you don’t like his, you are simply showing good judgment of human nature.
When she tries to be accommodating, she’s polishing the apple;
When you do it, you’re using tact.
When he takes time to do things, he’s plodding and slow;
When you take forever, you’re being deliberate and careful.
When she finds fault, she’s cranky;
When you do, you’re discriminating.”

Yes, how easy it is to criticize others and justify our own actions. The readings for today’s liturgy invite us to let go of this limited way of thinking and become more aware and receptive to the Spirit of God working in others. We need not criticize or reject the actions or words of other individuals, groups, or institutions just because they are different from our own. Jesus told the disciples, and therefore us, “that whoever is not against us is for us.”

In Deeper than Words, Living the Apostles’ Creed, Brother David Steindl-Rast states that the more we find our way to our own inner sacred space, the less we will be blocked by what seems strange to us and we will not cling to what is familiar. He writes that the various religious traditions are “different doors leading to the same sanctuary.” Jesus told the disciples that there was no one who performed a good deed in his name who was against Him. We need to come to grips with that inclusive message.

As we enjoy this first full week of autumn, perhaps we could ask in prayer for the grace to see that not only ourselves, but other people and groups are also being led by God. Let’s support one another in our journey.

Peg Orzel