Wednesday, May 22, 2013


The Gospel of to-day's Mass is amongst the shortest we encounter in the three year cycle : Mark 9: 38-40. It concludes with Jesus saying to Saint John : "....Anyone who is not against us is for us". This is said in the context of the disciples trying to stop a non-disciple driving out devils in the Lord's Name, and Jesus telling them that they must not stop him.

This passage has, in recent years, led some homilists to proceed from this  statement to say that it means that Catholics should be more open to the good works done by other Christian "communities"But is this a proper analysis of the passage?


" Anyone who is not against us...." clearly Jesus is excluding people who would oppose His teachings when He uses the words " against us", from acting in His Name.

As Catholics, we are blessed with the fullness of Christ's Truth entrusted to His Church to teach and to safeguard. This fact is not a matter of despised " Triumphalism", nor is it evidence of some defect in our stance. No, it is just a fact that we are bound to acknowledge and act upon accordingly.It is as much a responsibility as anything else.

But Christians in "other communities" - what are they about? Without exception they are holders of views which contradict and thus oppose Christ's teachings. If they are Anglicans, they reject the Petrine Ministry Christ Himself established, the Priesthood He established, the Magisterium He established, parts of the sacred Scripture He has provided to us and any one or more  of a smorgasbord of varying positions contrary to the Truth that they might choose to hold. If they are Lutherans, much the same is true. If they are followers of one of the 40,000 other Protestant " communities" they hold even more, and more radically opposed beliefs.

It is obvious that every Protestant is fundamentally opposed to some of Christ's Truth, and is therefore " against us".

The pursuit of "niceness" and "inclusion" in the modern World leads some to take a very superficial view of Sacred Scripture, even in some cases a very selective view. But this does no one any good, and it is a very false "Charity" Nor is it true to Jesus Christ, in either His words or His actions.

Getting it right

Rather than seeking to re-interpret what Jesus said, in order to accommodate the spirit of the Age, we should be exercising authentic Charity. The learned Bishop Lucius Ogorji of Umuahia in Nigeria recently reminded the congregation of Saint Stephen's Cathedral in Brisbane, that the prime example of Charity is Evangelisation - taking Christ's Truth out to those who do not believe or know it. Of course that is more difficult and demanding than mere "niceness". But it IS being faithful to Jesus Christ.

This not to say that we should disregard the good works  done by some who oppose the fullness of Truth. But we simply need to appreciate precisely what Jesus said and regard these otherwise good folk as needing conversion to Christ's Church . For after all, in their other proceedings they are daily leading people away from Christ's Truth and from His Church and the unity He desired for His followers.

Let us never forget  Who we serve, and who we are, and that we must serve Him according to His Will.

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