Christian way of tolerance and intolerance…

by Paul Yeung
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Numbers 11:25 - 29

James 5:1 - 6

Mark 9:38 - 43 , 45 , 47 - 48

The mission that Jesus has entrusted to his disciples is to be accomplished in a collective and collaborative way. It must not be privatized or controlled by an elite group of individuals. We cannot exclude others because we are all members of the same Body of Christ. We share the same common mission and contribute to it in an unique way according to the talents God has given each one of us. Jesus calls all people to be his disciples and to share the same mission in spreading the Good News. As such, we need to have a grander vision and a more inclusive mentality as Jesus does: “For he that is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40) Jealousy and intolerance have no place in the realm of the Kingdom of God.

Besides working with fellow Christians, we are encouraged to work also with other people with different religious backgrounds and non-believers in doing good works because we are all God’s creation and share the same humanity. That is the true spirit of ecumenism and of the Gospel.

There is only one exception to this inclusive mentality. That is, we must never collaborate with evil. While we must work together to bring other people into God’s sheepfold, we ought to be vigilant not to become a stumbling block for others in their pursuit of truth and Christ. Jesus uses the analogy of the great millstone and of the bodily dismemberment to illustrate the seriousness of leading others astray and indulging oneself in sinful acts (Mark 9:42-47) (ref. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible). If there are any stumbling blocks preventing us from attaining holiness, whether they be bad habits or even bad close friends whom we cannot change, we need to take drastic measures to “cut them off” (Mark 9:43,45). Otherwise, they will be like tumours causing us and in turn others to sin and to turn away from God. We need to take firm and decisive actions on this serious matter if we are determined to follow the path of Christ and to bring others to Him.