Tolerance for those outside

I was reading today in the Sacra Pagina commentary on the Gospel of Mark.  And, I was struck by the explanation given on the episode in the gospel reading for today:

The episode of the “strange exorcist” in 9:38-41 is remarkable for the attitude of tolerance it counsels toward those who are outside the circle of Jesus: “whoever is not against us is for us” (9:40). It is ironic that this advice appears shortly after the account of the disciples’ failure to cast out a demon in 9:14-29. Read in the context of a gospel written for a small Christian community facing persecution, this instruction would have encouraged a positive attitude toward the adherents of other religions while reinforcing belief in the absolute centrality of the “name of Christ” in the economy of salvation. It would also serve as a critique of Christian exclusiveness.

And this critique of Christian exclusiveness is no less valid today than in Jesus’ day.


About Jeremy

I work at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, LA. I teach part-time classes from time to time, through Loyola University in New Orleans, Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and St. Joseph's Abbey and Seminary College. I also just finished a doctoral degree in Biblical languages through the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
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