29 – 30 September 2018
Practical Advice for Disciples
Today’s gospel makes a number of important and very practical points. Though they were addressed originally to the leaders in the community, they have relevance for all disciples of Jesus.
The apostles came upon a man who was casting out devils in Jesus name. Since he was not part of their group, they tried to stop him. But Jesus told them to let him be. The fact that he was casting out demons ‘ in the name of Jesus’ showed that he recognised the power of Jesus. The incident shows the openness and tolerance of Jesus, and the first reading shows the same qualities in Moses. God bestows his gifts freely. We should welcome those gifts wherever they appear.
Then Jesus said. ‘Anyone who gives you a cup of cold water because you are a disciple of mine, will be rewarded.’ A cup of cold water is a symbol of the small kind deed. Few of us are given the chance to perform great deeds. But in the course of each day we get many chances to do small deeds. Deeds don’t have to be big in order to be of help and comfort. They just have to have a certain quality. That quality is warmth.
Jesus spoke about the sin of scandal. Scandal means – to be a stumbling block to others. He issued a grim warning amongst those who would lead astray any little ones who believe in him. When we think of the crimes committed against little ones today, its a warning that we should take very seriously.
Jesus went on to talk about the causes of sin in ourselves. The most dangerous enemy is the enemy within. We ought to be prepared to go to any lengths in order to eliminate sin from our lives. If we had a serious infection in our leg, we wouldn’t hesitate to have it amputated if it was the only way to save our life.
The question Jesus is asking is this: What would we be willing to sacrifice if something even greater were at stake, namely, eternal life? The kingdom of God is worth any sacrifice. To resist instincts and to conquer ourselves, can sometimes call for heroism.
Jesus cautions us. His cautioning us is a sign of his love for us. We must not forget Jesus is offering us – a place in the Kingdom. This is especially necessary when things are difficult, and we have to make painful sacrifices. The Kingdom is like a pearl so precious that one would gladly sell everything in order to possess it.
Take care, I do hope your first week of school holidays has been full of love, fun and peace.
With the kindest of good wishes to one and all
(PS – I wonder who won the Grand-Final this weekend? Collingwood or West Coast Eagles? Two worthy finalists – they played fine games to earn the right to play for the flag – I went for the Magpies – GO CATS)