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People Like Us

Any man who is not against us is with us
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

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Sermon Week Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 9:40


Many years ago, the famous comedian, Groucho Marx, received an invitation to join a certain organization. "No thanks," Groucho replied. "I wouldn't join any organization that would have me as a member." How many of us could make that statement? For better or for worse, we live in a highly organized society. A standard question on most employment applications asks us to list our organizational memberships. The list appears also in most obituary notices. Even those who claim to have dropped out of the "rat race" tend to organize among themselves. To one degree or another most people are members of the "joiners society." There are labor unions and credit unions, country clubs and social clubs, trade associations and professional associations, veteran's organizations and service organizations, youth societies and senior citizen societies. A stamp collector joins a group with similar interests. Investors band together to form syndicates. Ex-students become members of the alumni. All of us know, I'm sure, what the letters S.P.C.A. stand for. That's the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of course. But how many of you know what the letters S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. stand for? That's the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc., organized in 1938 and boasting a membership of tens of thousands in the U.S. and Canada. Membership in any organized group is purposeful and implies some kind of commitment. Members of the S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A., for example, are committed to the preservation of the sound resulting from a certain fixed style of quartet singing. Its organizational goals are specific, simple and limited in scope. Other organizations may be less easily defined. Their goals may be somewhat vague, and they may be multiple and complex. But whatever the goals, in the final analysis they have their limitations. And there are limits to the duties and responsibilities of the individual member, there is a point where the commitment either gives way to other commitments or it terminates. And even the most enduring commitment to a cause ends at the moment of death. But there is one society-and only one-that [...]

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