“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." - Mark 9:40-41
When I read this gospel for today, I just could not get a handle on it. How do we know who is for us?
There seems to be a lot of disagreement these days about some of the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially church teachings on contraception and abortion and same sex marriage. These subjects tend to trigger a lot of emotions, especially anger. Even among Catholics.
So just who is for us?
Then I read this last verse again - "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."
Because you belong to Christ.
In 2004, Pope Benedict said, "Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional -- rather than as an encounter with Christ -- which explains why they don't see it as a source of joy."
And in 2008 - "The Church is not an association that wishes to promote a certain cause. It is not about a cause. It is about the person of Jesus Christ."
The Church is not about rules or regulations or institutions or causes. It is about a person - the person of Jesus Christ. And once you fall in love with Jesus Christ, once you know you belong to Him, then being obedient to the Church's teachings, while still difficult at times, becomes more of a joy than a difficulty.
Dear Lord, there is such joy in knowing that I belong to you. Help me to bring your love and joy and light to others. Help all to see that the Church is not about an institution. It is all about you, Lord. Amen.