Whoever Is Not Againts Us Is For Us
Wednesday in the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Scriptural Readings: James 4:13-17; Psalm 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11; Mark 9:38-40
My dear encountered couples:
The message of Jesus is very simple, but often we don’t want to hear it. Help the poor, love our enemies and don’t be so obsessed with wealth and power. Today’s readings challenge us not to be so confident and self-assured. Not to be arrogant.
In the first reading, James cautions us not to count on our own plans to get us through life because “you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.”
Maybe that lack of control in life is what makes us less willing to turn our lives so completely over to God. In the morning, we can pray to surrender our whole lives to Jesus. Then we spend the rest of the day wresting it back from him a little at a time. “Let me have just this one part back,” we bargain. “Oh, and that one, too.”
We don’t like not being in control and all Jesus is asking is that we trust in him more. We don’t have to know what is over the next hill or the next week. But if we trust in Jesus’ presence in our lives and in his loving care for us, whatever does come in life will be easier for us, whether we are in “control” or not.
One of the ways we are called to trust in Jesus is by remembering that in everything in our lives, including marriage, our parenting, work and community, the Holy Spirit is there first - ahead of us. Jesus’ simple words, “whoever is not against us is for us” points to our daily lives, because too often we demonize anyone we don’t know or understand. Anyone we think might “get in our way.”
Jesus calls us to a more careful discernment in the midst of this trust. Like the disciples, we don’t want to trust what we don’t know – and so we judge others and assure ourselves that we are in the better camp – Jesus’ camp. But the spirit of Jesus is already in those places, even when we can’t recognize it. His spirit is more active and, in more places, than we know.