I worked at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for a number of years, was part of a team that encouraged Catholics in the United States to engage in global solidarity through prayer, education, advocacy, and financial contributions. We were often asked: “Why should I help people on the other side of the world when there’s suffering in my local community?” A fair question.
In a way, Jesus faces a similar question in today’s Gospel. There’s that sense of sibling bickering. The question put to Jesus is really this: “Who is more important? Me, or someone else? Us, or them?” Immediately, the disciples break themselves—and everyone else—into warring camps. And Jesus just shakes his head.
Let us recall that we are all members of God’s human family; no one is forsaken. Through the prophet Zechariah, God speaks clearly: “I will rescue my people.” Do we really think any person is beyond God’s love, God’s embrace?
When we divide ourselves, we attempt to divide God’s love. But God’s love is overflowing, beyond our wildest imaginations. There’s more than enough to go around!
That’s why Jesus isn’t concerned by someone other than his disciples casting out demons in his name. He knows God’s love is all-encompassing. The key for Jesus is this: Do we welcome and care for the vulnerable, the stranger, the forgotten, the childlike?
We are called to mirror God’s abundant love—and share it. That was always our answer at CRS too: Global solidarity isn’t an either/or proposition. It’s both/and. It’s a reflection of our God, who chooses all of us, every time.