Sunday 26 September 2021

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Word for today
The Gospel of Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48

Scandal

An unequivocal, neat, clear, precise, evident, unmistakable, unquestionable, incontestable reality. A certain and unopposable reality. If it had been a part of their experience, they would not have considered it a problem, a scandal. The reality was that someone was driving out demons and working miracles in the name of Jesus,  but that person did not belong to their community. That is the reality. It was unexpected, not completely comprehensible, unforeseen, not classifiable, probably not even pleasant to the apostles, but that, nevertheless, was the reality: someone in His name and with His power was casting out demons and working miracles even if he did not belong to their community. And it was working.
The mind is not ready for it, it is not ready to conceive the unforeseen, the unexpected, the unknown, even if it is perfectly present and real. So the mind gets irritated, it gets angry because it cannot control the situation anymore, a control that the mind never ever really had in the first place, but it was convinced that it did. So the mind widens the compass' angle, the mentality stiffens, the belief system becomes stupid and pathetically awkward in spite of the capacity that has been provided with. And then even the heart becomes sclerotic, the spirit becomes blind and dumb, the emotional states become fiercely oppressive and painful. The reality was evident, demons were being driven out, the result was divine, the source of that power was divine, and that stranger could not possibly do what he was doing if the hand of the Lord was not upon him. It is obvious, evident, clear, simple, beautiful. 
That stranger who worked with the Lord's hand should be the cause of infinite gratitude, of joy, feasting, praising, communion and sharing. Who could possibly drive out demons without the force of the Holy Spirit and  the power of the name of Jesus? Nevertheless the mind does not accept that empirical data; it refuses to recognize its very existence and resists: and we tried to prevent him. Not accepting reality always leads to  the same result: condemnation, conflict, separation, war. The disciples, to defend Jesus' name, reacted with violence and separation towards the disciple stranger, just as the elders of the people and the scribes will later use violence and opposition with Jesus to defend the name of the God. Cristianity isn't even born yet and the disciples are already fighting a war against those who do not belong to the inner circle.
That is the princedom of Satan, not God's reign. War and separation from within, arguing and quarreling about who among them is the greatest, war and separation without, prohibiting oneof God's children who could have been gifted with the power to cast out demons only by God Himself, to do what the Spirit was inspiring him to do. War with men, war with the Holy Spirit, war, always war and opposition to cope with any problem.
The physical proof that our minds' training is totally deceptive is the fact that so often and so easily our mental system is scandalized by reality and truth, while pleased by lies and falsity, it is scandalized by the present, which exists, and instead refuses it, and plunges in and swims about comfortably in the past and future, which do not exist. It is scandalized by the beauty and inconceivable perfection of life and honors the shabbiness of ephemeral human beliefs. It despises and does not take into consideration the truth of God's word, but listens with interest and passion to the flood of human opinions in the form of horoscopes, literature, forecasts depending on the latest trend. The only true scandal is that the mind is claiming the right to tell the world what is right and what is wrong, what is vital and deadly, and to  change its reference point as it pleases, depending on the powerful people's interests, the current economy, on compromises. The scandalous thing is teaching children from the moment they are born  that what is deadly and unfair according to God is honorable, beneficial, healthy according to human thinking. It is teaching that what is holy, wonderful and vital according to God, is dishonorable, ridiculous and unhealthy according to human thinking. That is the scandal. That is the perverse cartoon in which we are drawing life. According to Jesus it is better for those who perpetuate this scandal in a deliberate and conscious way to learn to swim very, very well, if they want to survive to the stone mill and the sea.
Jesus is beyond beliefs, theology, morals, religions. Jesus is the universal Lord, He is the God with us, He cannot be closed in, restrained, controlled. The Holy Paraclete cannot be restrained within the cages of our belief systems. Jesus and the power of His name cannot be contained. The mind would like to control even God, His actions, His choices. It would like to manage the Spirit's travel agenda, to create a protocol for the creative and healing qualities of Jesus' Word. The arrogance of the human mind goes so far as to believe that it can, or rather it should, create and decide what is right or wrong, register and fix nature, creation, God and life. 
One thing is for sure.  After all the opposition and separation shown by man, on the day of resurrection Jesus came out of the tomb of violence completely tranquil and absolutely undisturbed, and in the same way - undisturbed and in silence - He will walk away from cristian communities or any community that, living in His name, without love for reality, tries to restrain and link Him to the stupidity and pride of  human beliefs and prejudices. He will walk away undisturbed to meet other hearts and to shine in other eyes.