Friend or Foe? (Twenty-sixth Ordinary)

John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group”. Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice”. (Mark 9: 38 – 41)

Blanche and her friends had been in charge of the Mothers’ Club at their parish for years. They’d hosted lots of events, raised a lot of money for the religious education program, and had a lot of fun. Lately, though, it seemed the younger mothers were not getting involved, and a good amount of their meeting was spent griping that the same old people were doing all the work.

Then a new family moved into the neighbourhood and Cindy, the wife, had a lot of ideas. A few women in her street got caught up in the enthusiasm, and soon they planned a street party for parents and their children. They made one tactical mistake, however. They didn’t get the approval of the Mothers’ Club first.

What made things worse was that when the day of the street party arrived, the event was a huge success. Blanche and her friends were livid. They went to the pastor to complain. He kindly asked why they were so upset. He helped them realise the newcomer was only trying to do her part to help the community, and he made a plan to invite both groups to lunch at the parish centre to share some parish history, exchange new ideas, and get to know one another.

As Jesus said in this week’s Gospel, “Whoever is not against us is for us”.