"Whoever is not against you is for you.” Lk 9:50
Competition, especially between and among men, is natural and can be fun. Who can find and wear the loudest shirt or jacket, which football team plays the best and the smartest (even if they lose most of the time) or who knows where the least expensive restaurant is are only a few of the ways we compete, but the Gospel challenges us not to be competitive about power.
Newly called as an apostle, John is troubled when others claim they are acting in Jesus' name but do not follow the Lord and asks Jesus how he should respond. Only concerned with helping others, Jesus cautions John not to worry about having control of every situation, but to broaden his perspective. As long as others are not preaching or acting against him, Jesus is content to encourage them to do good, especially on behalf of those who are struggling in life.
The simple wisdom of the Gospel reminds us not to over complicate the teaching of Jesus, nor to make it something that must exclude other religions. When we can find areas in our faith traditions that allow and encourage us to work together for the good of all, we should eagerly embrace them. Nothing that helps the lost and gives voice to those to whom no one listens should be ignored in the name of Christianity or to prove that we are right. Only when we focus of those in desperate need can we be sure we are following Jesus.
Today, pray for those who work for interfaith cooperation.
How do you avoid unnecessary competition?