“Called to Unity”, by Lisa Valentino, Fiat Ventures

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Has there ever been a time in your life when you were jealous of someone? Not so much for what they had, their possessions; but maybe how they lived their lives? Their popularity, friends, their confidence? You know the ones I mean, those that help others so effortlessly and seem to have it all together. I can remember having people like that in my life, especially in high school who were just so confident and seemingly did everything right and everyone liked them.

I can also remember being a bit jealous as they were noticed and recognized for who they were and what that they did. Sometimes I would catch myself thinking about ways to tear them down a bit or, recall a time where they hurt someone, so that perhaps people would see the real them. Yes, that green eyed monster, jealousy rearing its ugly head in my life.

In the Gospel today John seems to have a bit of that jealousy himself. He cannot believe that someone who is not a part of the Disciples, someone who does not follow them, is driving out demons in Jesus’s name. Jesus tells John; “Do not prevent him.” He goes on to say that “Whoever is not against us is for us.” If we all only realized that and lived it out.

We need to ask ourselves; Why we are often times jealous of the good works of others? As Catholics we all have a mission, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and in that mission we are called to come together for the good of all. We are called to be united in our efforts and mission. It is not for us to judge others who are serving and doing good works. We are called to work together in unity and to appreciate the good works of all. There is no room for jealousy in this mission.

Everything we do in this life has an impact on the world around us. At times, we may act out of love and charity in a seemingly insignificant way, while we unknowingly change someone’s life. At other times, we may do something out of jealousy or for selfish reasons, and the effects may go further than we realize in the lives of others. Jesus reminds us today that we must appreciate the good works of all! He also warns us as well about leading others astray and to sin. He does not mince His words; they are strong because He asks us to be strong in carrying out this mission.

Perhaps this week we are being called to pray and reflect on our mission in this life, to look at ourselves and see what we can do to help others, how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. This requires time in prayer and reflection. Perhaps today, as we reflect on this Gospel we can ask ourselves the same question Pope Leo the XIII asked St. Katherine Drexel. He asked her to look at herself and the mission God had placed on her heart and he said, “What about you, what are you going to do?” Perhaps, God is asking the same of you and I today; “What about you, what are you going to do?

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