I’m locking up Jesus.
Hey, wait a minute…
“John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone forcing demons out of a person by using the power and authority of your name. We tried to stop him because he was not one of us.’”
We meet someone, and find out that they are doing amazing things in Jesus’ name what do we think. Maybe they are drawing dozens of people into their Church. Maybe they are really effective at serving others, helping them find God’s forgiveness and healing through their words and actions. Maybe they are a really great preacher. What’s is our reaction especially if they are not members of our parish or our Holy Church?
Today’s gospel shows us that the disciples’ reaction is jealousy, anger, and a desire to stop that person. Better yet, they want to use the power of God (that’s Jesus) to stop them. It sort of reminds us of how petty the disciples could be at times.
Remember, in Luke 9, after a town had rejected Jesus the very same disciple, John, came to Jesus and asked if he could call down fire from heaven to destroy the town.
Jesus tells us today that our reaction to our brothers and sisters who bear His name should be one of joy, happiness, thankfulness, and fellowship. The person the disciples saw, and the people we find, doing great things in Jesus’ name all belong to Him. Jesus isn’t claiming exclusivity for His followers, or creating one human boss over all.
Jesus did not create one human boss over all because He well knew human weakness. If the disciples couldn’t rejoice in the wonderful things being done in His name, if their first reaction to anyone who didn’t get Jesus was to destroy them, how could He trust any one of them to be the “one over all?”
It is sad and unfortunate when one Church claims such things. It makes all Christians look bad because those that do not know Jesus see a sign that says Church is a closed community – a gated community with Jesus locked up inside. It speaks of exclusivity rather than openness.
Jesus left us a sacred and holy way of life. He gave us His word. He provided us with the nourishment of His sacraments. He showed us love and welcome. He expects all that follow Him to do just that – follow Him as the “One in charge.”
When we get the urge to lock Jesus up in a gated community, to claim Him exclusively, remember today’s example. He says: You cannot lock me up. There is no “one in charge” but rather “One in charge.” All who follow the “One in charge” are blessed and welcome.