St. John’s Family Page
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 it off…And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. What is the message that Jesus is trying to give to us in today’s gospel? We probably already know that Jesus isn’t speaking in a literal sense, but simply using the expressions of his time to make an important point.
What is that point? We must be ready to sacrifice whatever is necessary to keep ourselves from sinning. Unrepented serious sin will cause us to lose eternal life – prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God. Today’s gospel is telling us to avoid the people, places and things that lead us to sin. We must call out to Jesus for help in times of temptation and trial. St. Paul wrote in Phil4:13: In Him who is the source of my strength, I have strength for everything. On our own we don’t have the power to always overcome temptation. But with Jesus Christ, who gives to us grace – divine assistance, we can – grace which is freely given and must be freely received.
Jesus is telling us that the stakes are high when we sin. The loss could be incalculable – which is why Jesus repeats three times what could happen if we don’t repent. In one of his letters, St. Francis de Sales, a 17th century French saint, wrote about temptation and guarding against sin.
“Let the enemy rage at the gate,
let him knock,
let him push,
let him cry,
let him howl,
let him do worse,
we know for certain that he cannot enter save by the door of our consent.
Jesus nourishes us with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, heals our soul and strengthens our resistance to temptation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We thank Jesus for these great gifts. May we always partake of these sacraments and receive great graces.
May God bless us always! Deacon Mike