Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Sep 30)

Pastor's Summary of  Mark 9:38-50

The disciples have argued over who of them is the greatest. Jesus has told them not to seek position or prestige. Now he rebukes them for attempting to stop an exorcist curing in his name. Jesus explains his tolerance: such a person will be slow to speak ill of him. God does work through those who are not followers of Jesus. V. 40 generalizes this, in the form of a proverb. The "reward" is entry into the Kingdom and the blessed state of union with God awaiting us there. Those who treat Jesus' followers with kindness will be so rewarded.

On the other hand, putting an obstacle in the way of immature Chrstians casuing them to sin, will lead to condemnation on Judgement Day. anyone who shakes the faith of others, however he or she does it, should be cast out, for the sake of the community. Discipleship is demanding. In vv. 49-50, "salt" has three meanings: (1) in v. 49, it means purified, as one is purified to metal in a furnace; before Christ comes again, we will be purified through persecution and suffering; (2) In v. 50a, "salt" is a seasoning agent; the disciples are the salt of the earth, the agaents of spirituality; if we lose our effectivness in proclaiming God's word, what use are we? (3) In v. 40b, "salt" is distinctive character: this matters, but so does harmony in the community.