38John said to him, ‘Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’
39But Jesus said, 'You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name could soon afterwards speak evil of me.
40Anyone who is not against us is for us.
What does this mean exactly? Everything I have been reading here and in the Catechism says that we are to evangelize even non-Catholic Chrisitans. Doesn’t this scripture tell us to leave them alone? I just don’t get.
Apparently somebody who was not an apostle or within the early church was going around casting out demons, the thing is, he was doing so in Jesus’ name.
I’ve always pictured somebody mocking the true faith by doing so, and being surprised to find that the demons really left.
What Jesus was saying is that because this person did this in his name God answered by casting out the demon and that person who started out mocking Jesus would then become one of the believers, turning away from the old ways and turning to the new.
Now for your question about us evangelizing to others, that’s already different than this passage because we are already on Team Jesus, if you think about it. When we evangelize to others in his name we aren’t mocking him or the faith. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.
YingYang: thanks for the reply but I’m not sure I understand what you mean or maybe you didn’t understand my question properly.
What I wanted clarification on was this: there are many non-Catholic Christians in the world that only believe partial truths about Jesus - they do not have the fullness of truth. So they are like the person doing things in Jesus’ name but don’t belong to the Catholic Church. Yes, they do “good” or whatever, in the name of Jesus, but are not a Catholic Christian. Are we to try and evangelize them into our Faith as it is the Body of Jesus on earth or do we leave them alone (like Jesus said in the passage) because they are doing ‘good’ in Jesus’ name anyway?
It doesn’t say that the person was not Baptised or an early Catholic. Besides in general most people do leave non-Catholic Christians alone. At least in a Western non-Muslim country this is true. But CCC 846 is also true “Out Side the Church There Is No Salvation”. Church teaching on the Sacrements of initiation are clear on this. (1) Baptism is necissary for salvation. (2) Mortal sins can not be forgiven or retained unless they are heard by a priest. (3) Unless you eat His Body and Drink His Blood you have no life within you.
“Leave them alone” doesn’t mean leave them in their ignorance, it means don’t interfere with their mission of professing the good news and doing good works in His name.
Because they profess the truth in his name even though it may be a partial truth, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will fill in the blanks. Maybe not in that same instant, but in His time.
Certainly we are always called to teach the fullness of the faith, in our own action first and foremost, then in words, if need be. It is in God’s hands and by the grace of the Holy Spirit that any human is able to recognize Truth and come to know Him.
I think that’s what He meant by “Anyone who is not against us is for us”. Their preachings, their actions, their works will not go against us in the long run. I think that’s evident by the many pastors who have converted to Catholicism over the years. Because they love Jesus as much as they do, the Spirit moved them, in His time, to ask the right questions which led them home. So as long as the non-catholic christians are living the faith as best they know how, and sincerely in His name, the Lord will do the rest and bring them into the fold of the fullness of the faith. We must not stop them on their journey.
In the verses you quoted, Jesus did not say “leave them alone”, He said “Do not stop them”, (from what they are doing). There’s a big difference, and he was not talking about believers out in left field, they were people going around as wannabees who did not yet belong to the Church, through the sacraments of initiation. We see folks all the time who start their own “faith center” or what ever they choose to call it, and act as if they are anointed by and directly connected to Jesus Himself. He said don’t stop them, but He did not say not to enlighten them and preach the Gospel to them, inviting them into the fullness of the faith.