Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to “be on your guard!” What are the things that we will encounter today for which we need to be on our guard?
Is it gossip, which Pope Francis has called “terrorism of words”? Through our destructive words, do we sow division and became the cause of “one of these little ones to stumble”?
Do we need to guard against distractions (television, social media, work) which prevent us from being fully present to others?
Do we need to guard against grudges, which make it difficult to forgive repeatedly (e.g. seven times a day)?
Do we need to guard against placing our faith in cultural messages which tell us that our value and worth is determined by things like wealth, status, abilities, attractiveness, and power?
Take a moment to imagine yourself in today’s Gospel. When Jesus looks at you and tells you to “be on your guard” what is it that he is asking of you? How do you respond?
—Dave Lawler is the Director of Campus Ministry at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.
Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired… Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something….Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.
—Fr. Tony de Mello