Ever since Bishop Finn was found guilty of not reporting suspected child abuse I have been pondering how our diocese can move forward. Today’s gospel challenged me even more. Last week the Twelve were arguing about who among them was the greatest.
Today John tells Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us” (Mark 9:38). I had not noticed before, but John does not say he doesn’t follow Jesus, but that he does not follow us.
I looked back at some notes I took while I was on retreat this summer and one of the first things we were told by our retreat director was, “I’m not the pastor and I’m not in control. There is only one pastor – the Good Shepherd. The Holy Spirit is in control. I’m there to empower, not to be in power.” In the Gospel of Mark Jesus’ disciples forget that they are not called to be in power, but to empower others.
We have the power to do good deeds. Jesus gives the example of giving someone a cup of water. It is a small thing to do, but a small at of kindness can turn winter into summer at least briefly for another person. St. Therese talked about doing small things with great love. There is a reward that comes with that. For me part of that reward is the good feeling I get when I do something for others.
Then Jesus deals with the sin of scandal – causing others to sin. In his reflection on today’s reading Flor McCarthy, SDB says, “Jesus issues a grim warning against those who would lead astray any of the little ones who believe in him. When we think of the crimes committed against children today, whether through neglect or abuse, the words of Jesus are a warning that we should take very seriously.”
This is the part of the passage that got me thinking more about the situation in our diocese with Bishop Finn. What happens when scandal is caused? How do we bring about healing? It has been on my mind and in my prayers. I have written the bishop about the need for healing. I know I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have some of the questions that I think will be important for our diocese to grapple with in prayer and action.
As you pray every day please pray for all who are in need of healing.