THURSDAY 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME GOSPEL COMMENTARY. THE OBLIGATION TO AVOID SCANDAL AND OCCASIONS OF SIN (Mk 9:41-50).
Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.
“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. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”
Our Lord teaches us of the Christian’s OBLIGATION to AVOID SCANDAL and OCCASIONS OF SIN.
- “SCANDAL IS AN ATTITUDE OR BEHAVIOR WHICH LEADS ANOTHER TO DO EVIL. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense (Catechism, n. 2284).” It can be provoked by laws, institutions, mass communication, fashion, opinion. Those who by reason of their authority establish laws or structures, or by reason of their profession promote activities, means of entertainment, business which lead others to commit evil and contribute to the decline of morals and religious practice are guilty of scandal. Such is its gravity that Our Lord said: “it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
- On the other hand, Our Lord encourages us to be RESOLUTE IN OUR DETERMINATION TO AVOID OCCASIONS OF SIN: to “cut off” that which separates us from Him, NOT IN A LITERAL SENSE AS IF ONE HAS TO AMPUTATE BODY PARTS which lead one to sin, but rather in a SPIRITUAL SENSE. If we are really determined to love God, then we shall want what He wants (good works) and reject what He rejects (sin). In this sense, daily interior struggle to be always prudent out of love for God is necessary. We should often ask ourselves: does this thought, image, imagination, desire, action lead me to God? If so, then forward. If not, then, as St. Josemaria said: “Don’t show the cowardice of being ‘brave’; take to your heels! (The Way, n. 132)” Let us be wise enough not to go near a barking and ferocious dog or worse, a raging bull! Rather, for love of God, let us run away from every
- The expression ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched,’ taken from Is 66:24, was used by Our Lord to refer to the torments of hell. Often “the worm that does not die” is explained as the eternal remorse felt by those in hell; and the “fire which is not quenched,” as their physical pain. The Fathers also say that both things may possibly refer to physical torments. In any case, the punishment in question is terrible and unending (“The Gospels”, Navarre Bible, Scepter Press, Commentary to Mk 9:44 (48))
Dear friends, let us then ask God through Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners, for the grace to be determined to avoid scandal and all occasions of sin.
A great day ahead and God bless! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
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