Eucharist Homily The Rev. Clara E. Plamondon

Prior to seminary I worked in a parish in Alberta where we were working on outreach strategies. Someone suggested that as develop teams who would go out into the community and collect donations for the foodbank. The idea really took off and lots of other communities wnated to get involved and join us, including interfaith communities. So it became a really community-wide event.

Then some of the original people involved started to question the motives of those who had begun to join in. Some said they weren’t comfortable with the whole thing any more because these other people had become involved. Several people walked away because they were unable to get beyond the “us and them” mentality.

How quickly we can draw lines in the sand.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 9:38-41) the disciples try to stop those folk who they see as being on the other side. This comes on the heels of the disciples debating about whose greater. These disciples seem to be uncertain of their position in relation to Jesus. Jesus replies telling them that they are missing the point. It is not about them.

Jesus draws a bigger circle even including those who are compassionate and merciful but are not part of the Jesus team. Jesus includes all those who are people of goodwill.

Why do we keep trying to draw a line around ourselves?

Jesus is inviting us into deeper interactions with those we may not perceive as “us”.

What lines have we drawn among ourselves?

In the process of claiming our own identity have we inadvertently drawn a circle around ourselves?

Let’s celebrate and embrace the circle God has drawn. Are we orienting ourselves to the one who encircles all of us?