Whoever is not with me is against me
Anne O’Brien reads today’s Gospel from Luke (11:14-26) in which the authority with which Jesus heals is questioned.
This is a challenging Gospel. Anne says, so often we are tempted to think the worst of others, putting a negative constraint on what they do and distorting their words. Politicians are often targeted and they often, also, accuse each other… ‘they are only in it for what they get out of it’. Such an attitude refuses to see the good in others even if it stares them right in the face. It assumes everyone is tarred with the same brush. It is a product, we might say, of our cynical society but it is not just a modern phenomenon.
In this Gospel, some observers of Jesus’ miracles of healing and hearers of his Word assert he is in league with the devil and actually accuse him of healing people by that means. They had made up their minds about him; nothing he could do, or say, not even his miracles or gracious words would make them change their minds. They are against him and will seek to destroy him. The reality, which Jesus exposes in them, is while they accuse him of being in the grip of evil; they really are in the grip of it themselves.
Anne notes again, this is a very challenging Gospel, as Jesus says we either accept him or we reject him. There is no ‘sitting on the fence’ position.
Going back to the Gospel, Jesus says, ‘He who is not with me is against me, he who does not gather with me scatters’. The Gospel is a call to be open to the truth for what God does and is doing in others. So, we listen to that call; we look and see the truth for what God is doing.
Anne closes with this prayer:
Father, by your Holy Spirit, purify our minds so that we can accept with joy the words of your son and live in loving communion with Him and each other, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen