Collect of the Day:
Lord, in your kindness fill our deepest being with your holy light,
so that we may be steadfast in our devotion to you:
for your wisdom created us and your providence guides us.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
The First Reading: James: 4:13-17: What about your life? You should say: If the Lord’s will.
The Gospel: Mark: 9:38-41: Anyone who is not against us if for us.
In todays Gospel we read:
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “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. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”
Now this really struck a cord with me. Being part of an emerging Denomination, a rapidly growing, but in the greater scheme of things still a reasonably small group committed to spreading the Good News of Jesus and to social justice, we sometimes find ourselves under attack from older and larger groups who sometimes seem to feel threatened by our very existence. On our web page we describe ourselves as being:
“A Diverse People, United in our Faith and Liberated by the Gospel!
The Reformed Catholic Church endeavors to provide a place where all people can come to worship God, pray, receive the Sacraments, and be fed with the Word. Of particular concern to us is the offering of valid sacraments to those who have been disenfranchised by the exclusionary practices of other churches and other Christians seeking forms of worship and beliefs founded in the traditions and beliefs of the early church.”
I often wonder how anybody truly committed to Christ and His Divine Mercy could harbor mistrust about another Christian Group that describes itself thusly. IT SHOULD BE THE AIM OF ALL WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIAN TO TAKE THE GOSPEL TO THOSE WHO FEEL DISENFRANCHISED!!! After all when Jesus Himself was accused of ‘Eating with Outcasts and Sinners’ He explained that ‘It is not the healthy that need a doctor, rather the ill’.
This is not to say that all those disenfranchised by mainstream society are ill or sinners, often it is quite the contrary, but they are often made to feel that way by people who would act as their judges rather than their shepherds, friends or guides. When I think of people who represent Our Blessed Lord but hide behind an empty piety and words, to make them feel superior to those who they judge. I am reminded of Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’.
The character Ivan, the idealistic revolutionary, tells a story which he calls The Grand Inquisitor. The setting is late sixteenth century Seville. In the title role stands a venerable Cardinal, iron sentinel of an iron Church; inflexible guardian of received tradition. The old man unexpectedly finds himself confronted with a new prisoner in his dungeon: a troublesome, itinerant peddler of heresies. It is Christ Himself.
The two men, one the representative of the Church, the other its Founder, confront each other in the torture chamber, littered with terrifying machines. Jesus as at His former trial, remains accusingly mute. It is the Inquisitor who does the talking. Carefully explaining to his unwelcome intruder why for the good of the people it is necessary to have Him executed. Now this is just a piece of fiction, or in it do we find disguised just a kernel of truth? As Einstein told us:
“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is ship wrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
Most gracious Father, we pray for Your Holy Catholic Church: fill it with all truth and in truth with all peace; where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where anything is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen and confirm it; where it is in want, furnish it; where it is divided, heal it and unite it in your love; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.