Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(James 4:13-17; Mark 9:38-40)
A Catholic novelist recently wrote of her conversion experience. She said that she grew up Episcopalian but without firm direction. She went to an Ivy League School where she succumbed to sexual temptations. Undergoing an intellectual conversion, she refrained from premarital sex for a while. She then fell back into serious sin and experienced what she calls “a baffling illness.” She was saved from the dire situation by a charismatic healer named Grace. The novelist assisted Grace’s mission activities until she became a Catholic. The story is similar to what today’s gospel conveys.
The passage resembles what probably happened many times in the early Church as it does today. Preachers who are not connected to apostolic churches minister in the name of Jesus. The apostolic churches had to ask themselves if the upstarts should be tolerated. This is the question that his disciples ask Jesus. His answer is unequivocal: “’Do not prevent them.’” They may not have all the seven sacraments or entirely correct teaching. But they are still preforming works of genuine love.
It is sometimes difficult for Catholics to tolerate other Christian communities. We see them as intellectually and liturgically wanting. Moreover, sometimes they ridicule the Catholic Church with calumnies and misinformation. But many of their adherents probably love Jesus as much as we. The situation calls for forbearance. Perhaps a dialogue with the other church may eliminate the undue criticism. Common service projects and even mutual prayer services may change attitudes. Even if they are against us at first, they may become working allies.