Men do not differ much about what things they call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable. -- G. K. Chesterton: (1874 – 1936: was an English writer, poet, and philosopher)
Gospel Text: (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.”
Everyone who is serious about life, especially eternal life, is keenly aware that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We are aware that God is God and we are God’s creation. Our lives have a beginning and they have an end. We are born, and then, at some point in time, we die. As Job reminds us, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall go back again. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:29)
But how we want to live our lives, how we want to be remembered, is left pretty much up to us. We cannot do anything about our heritage, our parents, our country of origin and the day we were born. Those are given. But we can decide if we want to live a virtuous life or not. We do not need to be prisoners of our environment, of our age and time. We can aspire for the greater gifts, for a life virtue and a life of good deeds, even though we may need to take a road less traveled.
Is it easy to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily? Of course not. But does God give us the personal grace and the community of faith to do so? Yes, God does!