Gospel and Homily Transcript
John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “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.”
Raw Transcript – The Circle of Love
In this short little gospel today there is an important human lesson is in their on one hand we have to admire John’s loyalty and his dedication to Jesus but on the other hand we see at once revealed not only John’s jealousy but the jealousy of the other disciples who join with them Jesus’s focus is on mission Jesus’s focus is on healing what’s at stake here is exercising a demon in the ancient world there was a much stronger belief and demonic possession than there is in the world today many of the bishops are coming back and appointing exorcists as we recognize the influence of evil within our culture but in the ancient world the belief of demons causing sickness and all kinds of maladies were much more widespread and here’s a man in the name of Jesus casting out a demon and John tries to stop him because he’s not a follower of Jesus even though he’s casting out the demon in the name of Jesus John’s focus on the focus of the other disciples who stand with them is on protecting their turf their territory their power their access to Jesus Jesus’s focus is on mission is on freeing people from demonic possession is a big differences in their Jesus reminds all of us today in the gospel that is not about protecting our turf is not about protecting our access to God it’s about God’s work at work within the world if you spend any time volunteering in the church or working in the church you know that this is an issue for all of us the solution is not simply get rid of the clerical is a man welcome and all of the laity the problem is rooted in our human hearts is that each one of us like privilege and status and access to power and if it promotes my ego and my access than that’s a good thing yes let’s do this but if we if our noses get bent out of shape or we aren’t recognized for the good work that were doing then all of a sudden we become very critical and we pass all kinds of rumors back and forth about him or her and what they do and what they don’t do Jesus is about mission and as he says in the closing line of today’s gospel whoever is not against us is with us is for us is one of us let’s open that up to a wider context way back in 1965 the Vatican Council under the direction of Pope Paul St. Pope Paul the sixth issued a declaration on the relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions is way back in 1965 the declaration is called no straighter talk to one of the documents of the second Vatican Council that means is one of the official teachings of the Catholic Church on the quote at some length from that document in our time when day by day mankind or we might say humankind is being drawn closer together and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger the church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions in her task of promoting unity and love among all people indeed among all nations she considers above all this declaration what humans have in common and what draws us into fellowship likewise other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart each in its own way by proposing ways comprising teachings rules of life and sacred rights the Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions gonna repeat that the Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions she regards with sincere reverence those ways and conduct of life those precepts and teachings which though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and set forth nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all people indeed the church proclaims and ever must proclaim Christ the way the truth and the life in whom all humans find the fullness of religious life in whom God has reconciled all things to himself the church therefore exults her children that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions carried out with prudence and love and a witness to the Christian faith and life they recognize preserve and promote the good things spiritual and moral as well as the sociocultural values found among these people of other faiths whoever is not against us is with us to look for what we share in common rather than simply arguing about what divides us Edward Markham was a American poet and philosopher he died in 1940 he’s famous for many of his poems but one in particular that I think that’s relevant today is this section Markham rights he drew a circle that shut me out heretic rebel thing to flout but love and I had with to win we drew a circle that took him in the world is round is it not into people heading in opposite directions can end up at the same point is a parable about a magic ring not a magic ring like Lord of the rings that brought people jealousy and entity but this magic ring was encrusted with beautiful jewels and whoever wrote where wore the magic ring would be filled with kindness and love and compassion when you like such a ring is that while this ring was highly prized within the family and it was passed down from generation to generation one day an ancient father who was renowned for his wisdom for his love and his compassion the ring had done its work had three sons and as he drew near death the question was which one of his sons to give the ring to so he had two other counterfeit rings made that looked exactly like the magic ring in on his deathbed he called his sons in one of the time and bestowed the magic ring saying where this ring son will fill your life your life with life and happiness and peace while he is one of the sons was newly honored but then when they talk to the other brothers and they discovered that they had the ring to the question was who has the counterfeit and who has the real ring so they went to the wisest judge in the village and each presented their case and the wise judge says by their fruits you will know them if you are wearing the true ring then your life will reflect kindness and peace and truth in time we will know who has the true ring is not true of our faith call Ron or one of the architects theologians behind the second Vatican Council coined the phrase anonymous Christians those who are not explicitly Christian but those who are Christian because of the way that they live their life embracing all that Jesus came to reveal love and compassion and truth anonymous Christians who are the real Christians Jesus himself said is not everyone who says Lord Lord who calls upon my name who will be saved but those who act upon my words if you want to so show ourselves to be truly followers of Christ than like the lessons of today’s gospel must be focused on the mission of Christ the mission of the church reconciliation piece forgiveness compassion proclaiming not just by our words but by our daily deeds that we are indeed followers of Christ amen