HOW MANY HAVE YOU LED ASTRAY?|26th Sunday|Ordinary Time|Year B

It is easier to count gains than losses because we are by nature aversive to losses. And so this topic is a red flag because no one wants to be identified with scandalising or leading others astray. But do you think you have lived wonderfully well that you can boast of leading no one astray? 
Sometimes we live our lives forgetting the effects our actions have on those around us, especially the simple or naive, new converts to Christianity and those of other faiths. We forget that those in these categories have to be helped in their faith formation and respect for the Christian religion, and not be scandalised. To show the gravity of scandalising others the Lord warns with harsh expressions and vivid images. If you wish to know read slowly...

Mark 9:42-48
But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. Child of God, Christ uses vivid images and harsh expressions to describe the fate of those that scandalise others. If we follow these hyperboles to the letter, you can imagine a church filled with congregation of maimed christians with only an eye or none, a limb or none! But the point made here is that no sacrifice is big enough when it comes to building up the community of Christ. For this reason St Paul warns about exercising our rights to freedom of expression:
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. (1Cor 8:9-13)

2. We can scandalise others in different ways: from the way we talk, act, use goods and resources, even those belonging to us, like our bodies! You could advance the argument that the money is your property, therefore you have the rights to spend it anyhow on selfish pleasures. But forgetting the scripture that says 'the earth and its fullness thereof belongs to God' (Ps 24, 1). On those who think and live this way the bible declares woe because they lived in luxury and pleasure in this world and felt happy while others were murdered (Jas 5, 5). The way we take care of our bodies or abandon it could also be scandalous: when we give undue attention to our bodies or do not care of it at all even when we have the means.

TASK: Take an introspection into you life and scrutinize your actions. Are you a parent ask yourself:  have I been a good example to my children. If you are married, ask yourself: Have I been a good example to my spouse? If you are a priest, minister or leader, ask yourself: Have I been a good example to my parishioners or subjects? Scripture says: If the Lord should mark our guilt, who will survive? (Ps 130, 3). Pray Ps 19:12-14 now asking the Lord for mercy for your sins, especially the hidden ones you misled others unknowingly. God bless you. Amen

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