REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 26, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” Mk. 9:42-43
Jesus was always blunt when He speaks to the people. There was no middle way in His word, and He doesn’t compromise the truth of his message. This fact about Him was obvious in our gospel reference today. Though he uses serious analogy like cutting off your hand and foot and plucking out our eye if it causes us to sin.
The context of our gospel reference today is that we ought not lead others into scandal and sin. In fact, it would be better if we had “a great millstone” put around our neck and were thrown into the sea than to cause another to sin.
Persons or Christians are gift and blessing most of the time. But they can also be a cause for sin. If a person or fellow Christian were to intentionally try to convince another to sin, this is a grave issue and is the heart of what Jesus is addressing. What Jesus is saying is that if we have persons or fellow Christians who are intentionally and maliciously tempting us to turn from God, it’s better that we let go of that person or Christian and cut him/her off.
The hand, foot or eye is a symbol of those Persons or Christians who work hard to draw us to sin. It’s better that our relationship with them end than to be drawn into Hell with them. And if we are those persons or Christians drawing others to sin, it’s better for us to cut our relationship off with those we are tempting.
Jesus is calling on us today to avoid scandal. We give scandal and become stumbling blocks to others:
a. when we are unkind or unjust in our treatment of them, b. when we reject them because of their weakness, faults or sins, c. when we humiliate them by hurting their pride and damaging their self-image, d. when we discourage, ignore, or refuse to accept them, e. when we ridicule them or deflate their dreams, f. when we follow a double standard: “Do as I say; don’t do as I do,”
g. when we set standards which are so high that we are unable to meet them ourselves, and h. when we become judgmental of those who are still struggling to reach a level of commitment that we feel is too low to be useful.
Reflect, today, upon what kind of a person or Christian you are. Have been a source of encouragement or scandal to others? What kind of example do you give in words or action? Reflect upon how you influence other people or how others have influences you. Make sure that Christ is the center, and the kingdom of God is the goal.
Lord, You are everything we need. The more we know You, the more we discover that we have more to adjust in our Christian life. May we be filled with your spirit today so that we may learn how to avoid being a cause of scandal to others in our words and actions remove from us the spirit of indifference, intolerance and injustice and mark us with your spirit of love. Jesus, I trust in You.