Do Not Prevent Him
“Do not prevent him.”
Can we picture John being brought up short by this response from Jesus? In John’s mind, undoubtedly, he and his companions are Jesus’ chosen ones—the Master’s special inner circle. How can this other fellow, who has no connection with them, presume to cast out demons in Jesus’ name? It just isn’t right.…
But here is Jesus calmly saying, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Does John swallow an unspoken “But …”?
Haven’t we all been in similar situations? We were the insiders, the rising stars, the generous staff members who worked day and night for the success of our organization. Whenever an “upstart” appeared, he or she was cordially resented.
Think back to some such situation in your life.… How did it work out? Did you learn anything from the way things developed? Would you have handled matters differently if you could live through that experience again?
I think each of us can admit that what we just recalled was a moment of jealousy and fear. We felt threatened. Perhaps we feared losing our job. Or perhaps something deeper disturbed us. We may have felt insecure at the very core of our being. What does one do about that? How does one acquire a true sense of self-worth?
Counselors tell us it’s helpful to recognize that we mean a lot to certain people. These others see something in us that we may not see in ourselves. When we feel loved by others, we can begin to recognize that God loves us too—with all our shortcomings. When we truly believe in God’s unconditional love, we feel secure, and the presumed threats disappear.
If we haven’t reached that point, it’s a wonderful grace to ask for.
Lord Jesus, Saint Paul reminds me that when I was a sinner you died for me. You love me so much, but I love myself so little! Help me to comprehend the depths of your love for all your handiwork. Teach me to love myself and to love my friends, family, and colleagues as fellow pilgrims on the way to our eternal homeland. Help me return your love by living as your true disciple. Amen.
To God, each of us is special.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 118–119). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.