Today, Jesus’s disciples complain about an outsider driving out demons, something they had failed at earlier in the chapter. But their complaint is not that this person was healing or does so in Jesus’s name. They are annoyed because “he does not follow us.” Remember, Jesus had just placed a child in front of them and told them to focus not on their own greatness but on those like this little one. Still, in front of that child, the disciples whined about their own insignificance.
What did that child learn from the disciples that day? That discipleship is about reward and fame, not self-sacrifice for others? That what was important was not Jesus’s mission but being “in the club”? It’s no wonder Jesus went hyperbolic on them!Whatever is small-minded in our thinking or practice that distorts the focus on Christ must be cut off, even if we hold them as dear as our own limbs. Click To Tweet
However, there’s a bit of small-minded discipleship in us too. Just after his election, Pope Francis said, “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules” (“A Big Heart Open to God”); and, “To get diverted by many secondary or superfluous things does not help; what helps is to focus on the fundamental reality, which is the encounter with Christ” (address, October 14, 2013).
Whatever is small-minded in our thinking or practice that distorts the focus on Christ must be cut off, even if we hold them as dear as our own limbs.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- The heart of the Eucharist
- Come and fill our hearts
- The slow work of the Spirit
- Listen for the Spirit
- Let’s be recognized