Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 9, 38-40

John said to him, 'Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.'

But Jesus said, 'You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name could soon afterwards speak evil of me.

Anyone who is not against us is for us.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Citing the episode of the healer “foreign” to the group, Mark connects to a unique tradition. Jesus clearly appears as a master absolutely open and ready to receive the good from any place; not only does he not remain closed within his group, but he requires that his disciples not follow a sectarian spirit. All those who do good are acceptable to God, because God is the source of every good and righteous thing. The words Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever is not against us is for us,” are a reservoir of wisdom and a strong help so that all disciples may open their hearts to others as the Lord did. This Gospel page sounds very topical in our contemporary world, where new ethnic walls and barriers are built, again opposing one group to another. The Gospel helps us to understand and recognize what is good and beautiful in the world and in the hearts of men and women. And the disciples should appreciate it. Anyone who works with charity is welcomed by the Lord, as is stated also in the Gospel of Matthew 25 about the universal judgment. Jesus links salvation to the offer of a simple glass of water to the thirsty. This means that charity is the way to salvation for all, even for non-believers. The apostle Paul follows the same line of thought when he writes, “What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice” (Phil 1:18). This openness and availability do not mean at all underselling Christianity and endorsing an attitude of indifference, and even less a relinquishing of Christians’ own identity. The Word of God is demanding and calls all to conversion, but it is also deeply sympathetic with the good that may sprout in every human being. In a world like ours, where we compete and differentiate one from the other, at times considering ourselves the best and despising our neighbour, Jesus’ rebuke is particularly significant and against the current. Right from the power of our Christian faith and identity, the Gospel makes us able to discern and appreciate the good people do, so that it might be supported and may contribute to building a better world. This is the sense of commitment to dialogue that the Community of Sant’Egidio lives, and through which it strives to encourage the energy of peace in the heart of every person belonging to any culture or religion. Indeed, we are all created in the “image and likeness” of God.