Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time w/e 9/25-9/26
The gospel selection chosen for proclamation on this 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time is taken from Mark and describes John telling Jesus that someone who is not gifted with the authority of discipleship is driving out demons in the Name of Jesus. The Lord quickly refutes John and tells him not to prevent this relative unknown from acting in His Name. “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. One might be wondering why in the Book of Acts (Acts 19) the disciples who try to drive out demons in His Name are completely defeated but here this unknown is not. It is suggested that in the latter instance the man is acting with true faith in Jesus while in the former, they are using Jesus’ Name as a magic like formula.
We would do well to remember that the gifts of the Spirit given to any of the faithful and to those who act in the Name of Jesus for the sake of the faith are not to be considered the stuff of superstitious trickery or quantitative applications of the grace of God, but rather the encouragement of a real and qualitative relationship of love and friendship with Jesus. For example, in baptism we use the gift of water not to literally wash away sin but so that we might realize through our senses what Jesus is doing to encourage friendship with Him. The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick does not anoint the person as a free pass to heaven but rather is a symbol of the action of the Spirit at work always in the hearts of people, especially those who might be in need of a sense of Jesus’ healing presence. The Sacrament of Reconciliation provides not a “quantity of God’s grace” filling up the cup of our souls, but rather an opportunity to sense, when we are honest, that the mercy of God is available to those who live in the truth.
Otherwise the sacraments become merely an application of mumbo jumbo phrases combined with a quantity of God’s life to make of our crucial meeting Christ in them, simply superstitious magic. Rather we live in faith gifted to us in the moment of our baptism and growing stronger as we meet Christ along the way so that a qualitative and integral friendship with Jesus might be encouraged. We need to break the bonds of a tradition which taught us with good intention but wrongly and emerge from the darkness of superstition into the light of Christ’s love.
We encourage all to participate in our Opening Weekend October 2-3, 2021. After each Mass we will invite those who have come to come downstairs or outside depending on the Mass to engage in fellowship and some snacks. The 4:00 p.m. Saturday Mass will be followed by wine and cheese in the Hall. The 9:00a.m will be followed by coffee and donuts in the Hall and the 11:00 a.m. Mass will be followed by the Blessing of the Pets and a hamburger and hot dog cookout. Please take the time to stop and share some time with other parishioners. We are so happy to have so many back at Mass and in friendship with Jesus and one another here. The Young Adult Group will have a kickoff event on Saturday night October 2nd at 6:00p.m. in the Hall with drinks and food and some games to share as we invite our young people to get together and come to know one another better. Please come to one or all of these events over this busy but enjoyable weekend to come.
Thanks and have a great week.
God Bless, Fr. Joe