7th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jas 5:1-6
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
Gospel: 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.”
Eternal life with the Lord our God is our life’s destination and ultimate value: All of us know that our hands, feet and eyes are so important for our ordinary life. However, compared to eternal life with our God they are insignificant. Jesus tells us that if our hand or foot or eye causes us to sin cut it off or pluck it out for it is better to enter into eternal life / Kingdom of God maimed or crippled or with one eye, than to lose the Kingdom. Certainly, Jesus does not mean it literally but is using here the literary form of hyperbola to drive home the ultimate value of eternal life and the relative value of all other things however important they might appear. Is my life organized giving first place to spiritual aspects? When spiritual values are given first place, all others follow smoothly. Only then, shall we not weep and wail in misery.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Give me the grace to give spiritual values the first place in my life.
GET TO HEAVEN: The importance of getting into heaven is the focal point in today’s gospel. Jesus tells us that it is so important, that you should be willing to do anything to get there. We should not let anything hold us back. It is sin that can hold us back from reaching our goal of heaven. But Jesus challenges us and tells that if there is anything that causes us to sin in our life, then we should get rid of it. Everyone has a choice in this life; we can choose to work towards heaven, or we can choose the other place. And while this thought can certainly be overwhelming and place a lot of stress on us, it shouldn’t, because the great thing is that we do not have to do it by ourselves. The Lord tell us that we should not rely on ourselves, but rather on Him. As it says in Sirach: “Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart.” (Sir. 5:2) If we are willing to trust in Him, and rely on Him no matter what, then He will help us resist the thing that can hold us back from heaven, and we can then spend eternity with Him in paradise.