Mark 9  38 – 43, 45,  47 – 48

John spoke up, saying to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”

Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.

On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.

“If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.

Gospel Reflection

Today may be a good day for us to ask ourselves: do we cause any of the “little ones” to stray from Jesus? We may not be deliberately inviting another person to stray. However, we may subtly or unknowingly invite another to do so. We may be talking with someone and we begin to gossip. Or perhaps we are complaining about work, our co-workers, or the behavior of our children, or perhaps we simply are in a bad mood. The reality is that our attitude and our words affect other people either positively or negatively.

Today may we strive to be a positive and loving presence to each person we encounter. Who knows? This also may help us have a good day!

Discipleship is not some personal privilege to be jealously guarded. We have no monopoly on Jesus. Appreciation of the good deeds done by others is essential. In his kingdom, power-seeking and rivalry have no place: they are an obstacle and a cause of scandal.