Wow! In Mark’s Gospel today, Jesus does not hold back. He does not mince words. And his words are strong: Cut off your arm, cut off your foot, gouge out your eye if any one of these should cause you to sin. I wonder what would be left of many of us if we literally carried out this command. The way in which Jesus speaks indicates how important his message was: whatever causes you to sin, whatever gets in the way of goodness, get rid of it. We are all called to examine our lives, our actions, our thoughts.
What sin do I struggle with the most? Which of my thoughts or actions am I least proud of? How comfortable would I be to stand before Christ in my sinful state? Sin is a given in the lives of humans. We are not divine. We do not always make right decisions. God grants each of us the gift of free will and his desire is that we use that free will in such a way that we might be able to build the kingdom of God right here on this earth. But it seems that life gets in the way. Temptations are many and can often lead to our succumbing to them, resulting in sin. Remember the Act of Contrition? This prayer gives sound advice in regard to resisting sin. O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
Amen We promise to sin no more and “to avoid the near occasion of sin.” That means I will not place myself in a situation that I know has the potential to move me toward sin. If my thoughts are sinful, I will use self-control to change my thinking and not act in a way that is displeasing to God. If I tend to fall into gossip when I am with a certain person, I will make effort to avoid such conversations. If I watch the news and it brings to the surface prejudice and judgement of others, I will choose to pray the news and for all whose lives are affected. If, when I socialize I tend to drink too much alcohol which causes me to lose control of my thoughts, words or actions, I will make every effort to avoid over doing it. There are so many more examples of ways we “fall into” sin. Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel. Look honestly at yourself. Don’t blame others or circumstances for your sinning. Get a grip. Realize what it is in your life that weakens your resolve to be a good person and an authentic Christian. Remove from your life that which causes you to sin. Then, you can live joyfully knowing the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ is yours. Only then, can you be the best version of YOU! Let us in our prayer this week take time to discern for ourselves what we need to do to avoid sin. May God grant us the grace we need to reflect honestly and go forth with renewed strength to live in love with all of God’s people.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC