“John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’” (Lk 9: 49-50)
The “offence” felt by the disciples in this passage is not against the authority of our Lord, but against the authority of the disciples. They, apparently, had begun to misunderstand their authority as exclusive; that they, exclusively, were given the power of His name. But the Lord had also given this power to “someone” outside the chosen circle of disciples, for reasons He does not explain. He simply says, in no uncertain terms, “Do not stop him.” And - relax, because he is not against you.
How uncomfortable, how frustrating, is this passage for those of us embracing a “black and white” ecclesiology; for those of us who imagine that we can “master” the great mystery of the charismatic boundaries of “ecclesial reality.” No, Jesus reminds me today, He alone is Master and Lord of all power and powers wielded in His name. And sometimes He puzzles and humbles us, by showering these powers on those who “do not follow with us.” To Him I ascribe all glory and power today, to Him Who puzzles and humbles me, just when I think I have it all figured out.