Wednesday, May 18 ~ Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Saint John I, Pope and Martyr
Holy Gospel: Mark 9:38-40 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Meditation: Are we not like the disciples when we get upset and jealous because someone else has taken our place or taken the spotlight away from us? Envy and jealousy, its counterpart, are sinful because they lead us to sorrow over what should make us rejoice – namely, our neighbor’s good. The reason we may be sad or feel discontent over one another’s good fortune or excellence is the fear of losing our own value and excellence or being replaced by a rival. Envy is contrary to love. Both the object of love and the object of envy is our neighbor’s good, but by contrary movements, since love rejoices in our neighbor’s good, while envy grieves over it. How can we overcome envy and jealousy? With the love that God puts into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). This love seeks the highest good of our neighbor.
Prayer: O God, who reward faithful souls and who have consecrated this day by the martyrdom of Pope Saint John the First, graciously hear the prayers of your people and grant that we, who venerate his merits, may imitate his constancy in the faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you rejoice in the good that others do, especially when they seem to outshine you? Jesus reprimands his disciples for their jealousy and intolerance towards others. Jesus had given his disciples power and authority to heal the sick and to cast out evil spirits from tormented individuals. But the disciples became upset when they met someone who was not associated with them doing a good deed and acting with Jesus’ authority and power. The apostles even tried to prevent the man to stop speaking in the name of Jesus “because he does not follow us.” Jesus’ reply is filled with wisdom: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” Whenever someone chooses to act for good in order to overcome evil that person brings glory to God.