September 29, 2012

26th Sunday - B


The Kingdom Does not Belong to Us

John stops a man from doing the work of Jesus.  John’s reason is rather simple:  “He does not follow us.”

It is important to point out that John is one of the three “privileged” disciples [1], who, earlier in this same Chapter 9, witnessed the great glory of Jesus in his transfiguration.  The event ended with the voice from heaven telling them, “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him,” (9: 2-8)

John and the rest of the Twelve were then reprimanded for “arguing among themselves who were the greatest.”  Jesus used the occasion to teach them the proper attitude regarding the least significant people in God’s Kingdom, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me”  (9:37, last week’s Gospel).

In the same chapter, John and his friends also witnessed the great needs of the people.  He even learned that he and his friends were not able to help the people in their needs with their own strength. 

When they came down from the mountain with Jesus, there was a large crowd waiting for Him.  Among them was a father whose son was possessed by a mute spirit.  The man had asked the disciples, John’s friends, “to drive [the spirit] out, but they were unable to do so.”  Jesus healed the boy, and later explained to his disciples, “This kind can only come out through prayer” (9: 14 – 29)

After all of that, John still stops the man from doing the work of Jesus.  Interestingly, he was doing the very thing that John’s friends were unable to do. 

Let us not forget John’s lesson:  The Kingdom of God belongs to God, and not to anyone of us.  And each of us simply serves according to the gifts given to us by God.

[1]  Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002; p. 189.

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