YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WHOEVER IS NOT AGAINST US IS FOR US.
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mk. 9:38-43, 45, 47-48) Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus was asked by John about someone who was driving out demons in His name. They reported to Jesus their intention of preventing him. But Jesus stopped them and told them, “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.” The response of Jesus was very revealing. Membership counts less than the good deed. Good is good. He followed if up by saying that even a small deed like giving a cup of water to another will be rewarded. And finally, and specially, avoiding sin and not leading another to sin, laudable before the Lord. All of these converge to the the important message of good as divine irregardless of magnitude and association.
We boast of belonging to the Catholic Church, the true Church. We are blessed to be so. But membership is not everything. While it avails us of the goods of the faith for salvation, we still need to make them effective in our lives. In other words, we need to do good. The fact that we belong to the Church, doing good becomes accessible, always possible, and very achievable. But doing good is not exclusive. As far as the Lord Jesus is concerned, as long as the good was done in His name, it is Christian and salvific even if the doer is not a member of the Church. There is salvation outside of the Catholic Church. While we have so many venues and avenues for doing good and salvation, others outside are not deprived. The German Theologian Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J. refers to them as the “anonymous Christians.” Though these people are not baptized, but because of their good deeds and moral life, they can avail of salvation.
St. Paul was once questioned by Peter and the other apostles. His claim of being an apostle was questioned. He was not one of the original twelve who were called by Jesus and he was not there during the ministry and life of Jesus. He did not really hear and see Jesus. His only claim was Jesus’ appearing before Him on his way to Damascus to persecute some followers of Jesus. But Paul stressed that being an apostle is more than being selected as one of the twelve. His claim of preaching what Jesus said and did, the very Gospel Jesus proclaimed, was enough for him to be called an apostle. St. Paul may not have that privilege of the original twelve but preaching faithfully what Jesus proclaimed made him one of them.
Once a very well known Christian sect requested to use the parish grounds and some rooms of the school for their medical mission. Since it was a very noble cause, I gave them permission with some conditions; they will not preach, not exclusive to their members, and no tarpaulin will be displayed. They agreed. On the day of the medical mission, some parishioners approached me and asked me why I allowed that sect to conduct a medical mission on our church grounds. I told them that their project was good and will help our parishioners a lot. There is no reason to reject a good deed done in the name of the Lord. Some understood, some did not. Jesus died for all, sinner and saint. His action on the cross was for all. That is the spirit of Jesus. It is the same spirit which we must follow and live. Any good deed done in His name, any action which is salvific, must be supported. We, Christians should spearhead it. If there are some outside of our faith who do it, do not discourage, reject, or criticize it. Let us see them as companions in the work of salvation.