26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 27/9/2015 - Gospel: Mk 9:37-42. 44. 46-47
Moral Discernment
It is easy to know what is right and wrong when a moral matter is in black and white. However things aren't always black and white but often there are grey areas. Our social life makes us to decide on matters relating to faith and moral issues when rights and wrongs don't appear to be clear. The problem becomes harder when a matter appears to be right but beneath the surface there are hidden factors that complicate things and later on cause's trouble for our conscience.

St Mark's gospel recalls two instances, both relate to the matter of moral and faith, that the apostles of Jesus struggled to deal with this complexity. The first instance happened when Jesus revealed to the apostles that He was going to be arrested by the Chief Priests and the Scribes and would face a violent death. Peter wanted to save Jesus from the violent dead and spoke to Him in private saying that it would not happen to Him. It wasn't just a noble and good thing to do for a dear friend but it is an obligation to save life. Peter was wrong as Jesus pointed out, that his judgment was based on worldly justice and that would be an obstacle for His saving mission Mk 8, 30. The second instant happened to John who stopped someone to use to the name of Jesus to cast out devils. John proudly told Jesus about what he did and Jesus questioned John why stop someone who was not against Him Mk 9, 38. What John did was to protect Jesus' name and popularity, preventing someone using His name without authorization. Jesus was not happy with what John did while John saw it as a privilege and the right thing to do. John was correct according to our society standards because he acted in accordance with what today the commercial world requires as a licensing permission for the use of somebody's intellectual property. Jesus told how John went wrong because

'No one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. v. 39

Both Peter and John were wrong because they made decisions based on human justice on the matter of moral and faith. The true and only correct way to make decisions relating to the matter of moral and faith must be based on the teaching of Jesus. His teachings are the foundation and the true source for decision making and it must be done with prayers and discernment. Apart from Jesus' teaching there is no other reliable source that helps to make correct and right choice on the matters of moral and faith. Different models of faith and moral life styles are for sale on the open market. They become commercial items and commercial items are for convenience and time saving, not soul saving. Jesus calls for order and control and soul saving.