In today’s Gospel, we find the apostle John annoyed. Someone is using the name of Jesus to cast out devils – but he isn’t one of the twelve apostles. John expects Jesus to put a stop to it, because this man is ‘not one of us.’ Jesus, instead, tells John to look at the fruits of the man’s ministry. If he is working miracles in Jesus’ name, then he is on the right side, and the disciples mustn’t stop him.
We can easily feel suspicious or resentful of anyone who is ‘not one of us.’ Even in the Church, we may be tempted to think in terms of ‘them and us,’ and to exclude those who are different from ourselves. But this is not what Jesus teaches us. No one is excluded from the love of God. In this Gospel, once again, Jesus reminds his disciples that the ‘little ones,’ the poor and powerless, are especially precious in God’s eyes. Anyone who is an obstacle to the faith of the little ones will answer to God. This is what should concern us, rather than asking who is ‘in’ or ‘out.’
Every one of us can be a witness to God’s love. Whoever we are, we are baptised as priests, prophets and kings, and we have our part to play in God’s plan for the world. In the Church, there should be no such thing as ‘not one of us.’