At that time some people who were not part of the 12 apostles, who were also in the name of Jesus performed some miracles. Seeing this, the apostle John was indignant, forbade him, and reported it to Jesus. John thought that the ban was right because those people were not disciples of Jesus, so they did not have the right to perform miracles in his name. But Jesus told them not to forbid them. And Jesus also said a sentence that we will think about later; He said, “Whoever is not against us is for us”.
Through the story, what we should note is: the mind of jealousy has been present in man since ancient times, and it continues to be in man even in the New Testament. They are people who are close to God, like Joshua – the one who will later lead God’s people into the Promised Land, like John himself, one of the apostles most loved by Jesus. That is jealousy which we can divide into three levels:
- The first level is personal jealousy: it is a bad habit that makes people uncomfortable and annoyed when they see others doing a good thing like you or even better than you.
- The second level is sectarian jealousy: envy of people who are not part of one’s faction.
- The third level is sectarian jealousy for the sake of God: that is, Christians – Catholic people are jealous of non-Catholic people when these non-Catholic people do good things.
In the gospel, the apostles fall into the 3rd level. It must be admitted that many religious people often have a self-respecting mind. They reasoned that because their God is all-powerful and perfect, their religion must be the best. Therefore, only one’s religion can do good deeds. When you see non-Catholic people planning to do this or that, you think they won’t do any good. However, when people have worked successfully, then the catholic people get angry, find ways to slander, distort to lower the price of other people’s achievements because they do not belong to their beliefs. It is sectarian jealousy for the name of God.
But God does not accept that. Jesus gave a principle reminder “Whoever is not against us is for us“. This reminder is unique because it goes against the principle that people have always followed. People often think that “Whoever does not follow me is against me”, or “Whoever is not my friend is my enemy”, and “Whoever is friends with my enemy is also my enemy.” The reminder reveals a mentality of self-respect and exclusivity: only one’s group is good, excluding everyone who does not belong to one’s faction. The principle of Jesus is openness, generosity, open arms of cooperation: everyone, as long as they are not against me, even if he does not belong to my religion, my group, we must consider him a friend of mine; also cooperate with them.
God does not only want us- catholic people to do good works, but God wants everyone to do good works.
Let’s try to live in the spirit of the Gospel of God: don’t be envious, don’t keep a sectarian mindset but try to live in harmony with everyone, doing good things together with everyone, doing good deeds for others, and for society.
Our Lady of La Vang Community