Salvation For All

Mark 9:38-40
Jas 4:13-17 / Psa 49

…no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.
(Mark 9:40)

Everyone has a special grace
That the Holy Spirit gives for free;
May we use them in the time and place
That Jesus gives for our ministry.

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40)

Reflection

Old habits die hard. John, the beloved apostle was expressing a traditional sentiment of exclusivity wherein Jews had always been proud of their exalted status as the “Chosen People” of God. The Pharisees exemplified this attitude in the highest degree. They were the “purists” in the tribe of Israel, who strictly followed the laws of Moses, and hated the “half-breed” Samaritans, the Arabic-speaking Jews from the region of Samaria. Since the promised Messiah would come from the Jewish tribe, they alone were “chosen” by God for eternal salvation.

Our Lord Jesus came to change this mindset of the Jews, starting with His own apostles. At the first instance, He showed them His impartiality towards Samaritans when He visited a Samaritan village (John 4:4-26) where many came to believe Him. Our Lord broke off with Jewish tradition by asking to drink from a Samaritan well, and even offered to give the Samaritan woman “living water”, which, (although she didn’t understand it at that time) was an invitation to eternal life. There are other incidents in the Gospel where Jesus demonstrated that God’s call to salvation was open to all who were willing to believe.

In John,10:16, Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” Salvation therefore is free for all who believe in Jesus Christ, Who came to earth not only for the salvation of the Jews, but for the whole world. St. Paul was His foremost apostle, although he was not a member of the original twelve, because St. Paul was the most fruitful in spreading the Good News to the pagan world. We Catholics consider ourselves the most fortunate of all Christians because we belong to the “original” Church of Jesus, represented by the Vatican in Rome. But we must never believe that we have a monopoly of salvation just because other denominations do not have the benefit of the sacraments and the saints. We are all children of God, and as long as we are faithful to all the teachings of His Beloved Son, and follow His example to bring other souls to believe in the Gospel, then we can rest assured that we belong to His universal flock.

Guide us, Lord God to keep an open mind and a loving heart for others who profess a different view in their faith, but likewise believe in Jesus Christ as Your only Begotten Son, Who sacrificed His own life for our salvation. Amen.

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