Was John looking for commendation from Jesus for attempting to stop an exorcist who was not a disciple, but using Jesus’ name? Perhaps he was merely alerting Jesus that others were healing in his name. Was he drawing distinctions from them? We surely know that people can be attached to creating a life of separation, alienation and exclusivity from others. Jesus, however, teaches inclusion of the other and tells us that what one does is what really matters. If one performs good deeds for others, how can that be against what Jesus is teaching? Why should they be excluded?
Pope Francis reminds us that Christians build bridges, not walls. Do we as disciples compassionately embrace the other with love, particularly the poor and marginalized? Do we perform good deeds in the name of Jesus? Are we grateful for the good deeds of others?
—Jim Sweany is a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition. He is associated with the Chicago Region Ignatian Volunteer Corps as a spiritual animator, reflector and Advisory Board chair.