John says to Jesus: “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus answers: “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.”
Today’s gospel relates to our ecumenical efforts towards unity with other Christian denominations as well as non-Christians. It reminds us to see and understand what the other denominations think and do while of course trying to see and understand more and more what we believe and proclaim. Understanding others requires self-understanding.
Our ongoing thrust to cooperate with other faith denominations has to be sustained and strengthened. We have to continue to be welcoming and accepting of those who have a different view of things while trying to be faithful to Christ’s mandate to love and forgive. We have to celebrate our oneness in Christ. We have to reach out to non-Christians in an effort to acknowledge our commonality as God’s children. Our unity in Christ and in God acknowledges our uniqueness and plurality as churches, as peoples and as persons. Just as God is one and three persons, we are all so different from each other yet we are all same as God’s children, as human beings.
We can also apply our Christian sense of ecumenism in our own personal lives by becoming more tolerant and accepting of the differences and idiosyncrasies of those around us and by focusing on our common human purpose of dealing with our own mortality and our quest for the eternal. The task of ecumenism also challenges us to be more united within own families and communities. We can share unity with other Christian or non-Christian communities only if we profess and try to live that unity among ourselves, in our own respective communities. And this unity among ourselves is founded on our own personal unity with Christ Himself. As we come together for the celebration of the one bread, one body in Christ in the Eucharist, we ask God to make us acknowledge our oneness as God’s children by strengthening our own personal relatedness to Christ who is the source of our unity and peace…