Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 22 septembre 2021

He who is not against us is for us

Luke 9:50 And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against  us is for us.

esus said : « He who is not against us is for us »

 Either you are with us, or you are against us » is the minimalist version of a phrase designed to polarise a situation and demand a Manichean response from interlocutors, thus becoming allies or enemies. The statement can sometimes be interpreted as a false dilemma, which is a recognised fallacy. However, it can also be understood as a statement identifying the sender’s beliefs, which would indicate that the sender is making a perception and not a logical conclusion.

It is also sometimes interpreted as a speech act. Some see it as a method of persuasion to get others to choose sides in a conflict that does not have the luxury of neutrality. In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus says, « He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters » (Mt 12,:30), but also « He who is not against you is for you » (Lk 9, 50; Mk 9, 40). The phrase has been said in substance by many twentieth century leaders such as Benito Mussolini, Hillary Clinton3 and George W. Bush.

From the Gospel of Mark

38 John, one of the Twelve, said to Jesus, « Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name; we stopped him, because he is not one of our followers. 39 Jesus answered, « Do not hinder him, for he who does a miracle in my name cannot immediately afterwards speak ill of me; 40 he who is not against us is for us.

41 And whoever gives you a cup of water in the name of your belonging to Christ, amen, I tell you, he will not go unrewarded. 42 « Whoever is a stumbling block to one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him to have one of these millstones tied around his neck and thrown into the sea.

43 And if your hand causes you to fall, cut it off. It is better for you to enter eternal life with one hand than to go to hell with both hands, where the fire is not quenched. (Mk 9, 38-43.45.47-48)

Whoever is not against us is for us

John said to Jesus : « Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name who does not follow us, and we stopped him because he did not follow us. »  Matthew and Luke establish a close relationship between the previous instruction and John’s confession. Jesus, in speaking of receiving one of these little ones in his name, gave rise to a scruple in John about a man who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name.

But this man, John added : « did not follow us, he did his work separately, and we prevented him from doing so only on the grounds that he did not follow us. » This repeated word shows that this was John’s great objection to this man’s activity. This mistake was made by Christians more frequently than any other, and more often than not in circumstances where it was much less excusable.

But Jesus said : « Do not hinder him; for there is no one who performs a miracle in my name who can immediately afterwards speak ill of me. (Mk 9, 39) Jesus admitted that this man did a miracle in his name, putting his trust in him and in God, from which he concluded that this first degree of faith and zeal for good would lead him further, would bring him to himself, and that, consequently, it was necessary to be careful not to prevent him.

Jesus said : « It is charity that hopes for everything ». Let us respect the slightest germ of faith and religious life, even in people who have not adopted the religious habits of Christians and have not joined the Church. Jesus’ influence extended far beyond the circle of his immediate followers and adherents.

« Whoever is not against us is for us. This man was not against Jesus and his disciples, for he cast out demons in the name of Jesus; he inclined towards Jesus and began to draw close to him; he became completely attached to him, for one could not remain neutral in the presence of Jesus. How careful the disciples were to stop this good movement by their hasty and intolerant intervention!

In a different circumstance, Jesus spoke a word that seems the opposite of this one, but which expresses the other side of the same truth : « He who is not with me is against me » (Mt 12:30). (Mt 12:30). Jesus makes this statement in relation to the Jewish exorcists, who apparently were working on the same work as him: fighting Satan. But since they were doing it in a spirit quite different from his, this intimate difference was to lead them to open hostility.

As much as it is true that a man sympathetic to our cause, even though outwardly he is among our adversaries, must be treated by us as a future collaborator, so much it is true that a man belonging outwardly to the same camp as us, but working in a spirit opposed to ours, must be considered a real adversary. (Godet)

Jesus said : « Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mk 9:41) «  And whoever offends one of these little ones who believe in me, it is better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea. » Jesus returned to the thought he had expressed when he was interrupted by John. The little ones, the weak, must be received with such love; what is the sin of the one who scandalizes them !

« And if your hand causes you to fall, cut it off ; it is better for you to enter life one-handed than to have two hands and go to hell, to the fire that will not be quenched » (Mk 9:43) Mark added: « …to the fire that will not be quenched, a dreadful image of moral suffering without hope. Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched: these terrible images of a worm that does not die, of a fire that is not quenched were borrowed from Isaiah.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

  Maranatha : klik here yuo tead the paper   →  Homily For 26th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year B 

◊ Father Valan  : klik here yuo tead the paper   →  Homilies – Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

.Angela Serocki : « Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us »

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