We are on a journey on this earth, and whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we are traveling back to our spiritual home where we hope that we will be united with our spiritual family and our Heavenly Father. This life journey can be very challenging; filled with rocks, thorns, and various degrees of storms on occasions. However, along the way there are also beautiful colorful flowers, gurgling of the rivers, singing birds and the not too distant glimpse of the majestic mountain. When we reach the mountain peak, our final destination, we hope it is in the presence of our Lord.
For those who question why we come to Church to praise and worship, read the bible, pray and even live like followers of Jesus Christ. It is because we are driven by the knowledge deep within us that we are on this temporal earthly journey traveling towards a spiritual summit to be united with our Heavenly Father in eternity. God has planted his nature within us, a compass to guide us on this journey. He has given us the promptings of his Holy Spirit. He has also given us his words in the bible. The Holy Spirit and the bible are directing us towards our heavenly home.
When we read today’s Gospel in Mark 9:38-48 we learn that Jesus’ Apostles were human in nature. They were upset that someone not within their group of 12 was using the name of Jesus to drive out demons. They tried to stop him. However, Jesus told them in Mark 9:39-41, “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. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” Jesus is teaching that when someone is doing God’s work casting out demons, this power is from God and God’s power is not limited to the 12 Apostles. God is enlarging his kingdom through believers throughout the world. Even the small act of giving someone a cup of water is an act of giving Jesus a drink. All these activities for Jesus which may be big or small are encouraged to make this world a better place.
On the other hand in Mark 9:42-43, Jesus teaches that “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” Here Jesus is using very strong language to steer us away from the things that may deter us from turning to God and reaching the final destination of Heaven. Shed off the sinful self; pride, lust, anger, addiction, any vice that thwarts our path to God. Start now before the heart becomes hardened and makes the path more difficult. Side step the lures of the world. Walk the path which the Holy Spirit is prompting you. Do good works in Jesus’ name. Summit the heavenly goal. We only have one life and it is not a dress rehearsal!
God bless, and may His Holy Spirit be with each of you.
Diaconate Candidate 2025