“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Mk. 9:38.
We find two examples of prejudices in today’s readings. In the First Reading we find two men who received the Spirit of the Lord even though they had not been at the gathering and we see that a young man runs to tell Moses what happened and said to him: “Stop them”. Moses replied: “…..Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow the spirit on them all!”
In the Gospel John tells the Lord: “We saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him. Jesus replied, “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me”.
In the readings we hear about two examples of prejudices and intolerance that Jesus invites us to avoid in our apostolic work. The Apostles did not come to understand the logic and mercy of God, which is why they were forbidden to act. It is an example to not forget that we are a Church and as Pope Pius XII said: We are the mystical Body of Christ. “There are diversities of gifts, but one same Spirit”.
“We are many and we are different, but we live united in Christ and in that diversity and in that unity is our greatness. We have to help each other and support each other.” Pope Francis.
As we can see the sin of criticizing is found in both the First Reading and in the Gospel. Criticism can sometimes be converted into a disease that can damage our soul and become an obstacle so that the Mercy of God humiliates our haughty and arrogant hearts that does not allow us to recognize our limitations. Yet do not forget that constructive criticism also exists, but what builds, as the Pope says, is Charity. Prejudices and criticism does not come from God and they create tensions and conflicts.
Let us pray to the Lord in the Eucharist that when we feel the temptation to criticize that we begin by criticizing ourselves first and, I believe, that will not leave that much to time to criticize others. Perhaps we can ask ourselves this week: How do I live in unity with others, my family and friends, my Church?