Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Sunday’s Gospel presents one of those episodes in Christ’s life which, even if they are noted, so to speak en passant, contain a profound meaning (cf. Mk 9:38-41). The event involved someone who was not a follower of Jesus but who had expelled demons in his name. The Apostle John, a young man and ardently zealous as he was, wanted to prevent him but Jesus did not permit this; on on the contrary, he drew inspiration from this circumstance to teach his disciples that God could work good and even miraculous things even outside their circle, and that it is possible to cooperate with the cause of the Kingdom of God in different ways, even by simply offering a missionary a glass of water (v. 41). St Augustine wrote in this regard: “as, therefore, there is in the Catholic — meaning the Church — something which is not Catholic, so there may be something which is Catholic outside the Catholic Church” (cf. On Baptism, Against the Donatists, PL 43, VII, 39, 77).
Therefore if a stranger to the community does good works in Christ’s name, so long as he does so with upright intentions and with respect, members of the Church must not feel jealous but must rejoice. Even within the Church, people can find it difficult, in the spirit of deep communion, to value and appreciate good things achieved by the different ecclesial entities. Instead, we must all and always be able to appreciate one another, praising God for the infinite “creativity” with which he acts in the Church and in the world.
The stream of invective of the Apostle James against the dishonest rich who rely on wealth accumulated by abuse, rings out in today’s Liturgy (cf. Jas 5:1-6). St Caesarius of Arles says in this regard in one of his sermons: “riches can do no harm to a good man, so long as he gives them compassionately, just as they cannot help a wicked man, so long as he keeps them greedily for himself or wastes them in dissipation” (Sermons, 35, 4). While the Apostle James’ words put us on guard against the worthless desire for material goods, they are a powerful appeal to use them with a view to solidarity and the common good, always acting with fairness and morality at all levels.
Dear friends, let us pray through the intercession of Mary Most Holy that we may be able to rejoice in every act and initiative for good without envy or jealousy and that we may use earthly goods wisely, in the constant search for heavenly goods.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am following with care and concern the vicissitudes of the people in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have also been the subject of attention in these days at a high-level meeting at the United Nations. I am particularly close to the refugees and to the women and children who, because of persistent armed conflicts, are subjected to suffering, violence and severe hardship. I invoke God that peaceful ways may be found for dialogue and for the protection of so many innocent people. I also pray that as soon as possible peace founded on justice may be reestablished, and that brotherly existence be restored among this most harshly tried people, and throughout the Region.
* * *
After the Angelus
I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims here at Castel Gandolfo and in Rome! Dear friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to be not only open-hearted, but also firm in our opposition to what is dishonest or evil. May God grant us to be both generous to others and steadfast in living a life of purity and integrity. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the strength and peace of Christ our Lord!
To all of you, dear friends, I wish you a lovely Sunday and a good week! Goodbye. Have a happy Sunday!
© Copyright 2012 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana