Monday, 9/30/ 13
In the Gospel St. John told Jesus that he had stopped someone from using Our Lord’s name to drive out demons, and Jesus told him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Let me speak of an experience I had dealing with those words sixty- three years ago when I was in the seminary. Our Theology professor, Father O’Dohery was very strict with us about avoiding saying anything that Rome didn’t approve of. We could not say anything liberal around him, but one evening he was a very different man.
I had knocked on his door to return a book, and I found him with his sweater buttoned wrong, and his hair mussed up. He asked me, “What did Jesus mean by saying, “whoever is not against you is for you”?
My big concern around him was always to avoid saying what would get me into trouble. So, my answer to him was, “I don’t know, Father.”
Looking back on that now, I see it differently. It seems to me that Father O’Doherty was secretly unhappy with Rome’s strict stand against all other Christians. Then, that evening I caught him when he was being honest with himself. He was asking me, not as a student, but as a sincere Christian if I thought our minds should be open to good people who were not Catholics.
I was too young to level with Father O’Doherty that night. But at my age now, I am happy that since then our Church has issued a degree favoring the freedom of Religion. I am happy that we can openly agree with Jesus that anyone who is not against us is with us.