Today’s Gospel: Mark 9, 41-50
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.” Wow! That’s a little harsh. Maybe if we updated it just a bit.
“If your TV causes you to sin, throw it out.”
“If the internet leads you to temptation, disconnect it.”
Those versions are a bit less gruesome, but no less troubling. I have to honestly ask myself, am I willing to give up the comforts and trinkets that lead me to sin? Is it better to go through life without Facebook than to spend eternity separated from God?
Taking the long view, I’d happily trade Facebook for a eternal joy. In the day-to-day I overlook the innocent (and not-so-innocent) things that lead me into sin.
I remember a Family Circus cartoon which perfectly captures the subtle way that sin sneaks up on us. Billy is standing in a toy store holding the severed tail of a rocking horse. Looking up at his bewildered mother and the angry salesman he explains, “I just said ‘whoa’ and it came out.”
How often do we find ourselves making similarly ridiculous excuses to God? “I just went to lunch with a friend and a big pile of gossip appeared on the table” or “I just started watching the game and then I missed Mass.” If we were really honest, we’d see that we deliberately put ourselves in the path of sin.
Which means we have to figure out what to give up to stay away from sin. So, what things should we “cut off” to keep us on the path to God?
When I consider my sins, do I honestly look back to find the things that lead me into sin? Am I willing to trade momentary amusements for eternal happiness?
Lord, show me the things in my life that lead me into sin and error. Give me the courage to be honest with you about them and the strength to leave them behind. Amen
Copyright 2016 Kevin Lee Cummings
Kevin is an adult convert to Catholicism who lives in Northern Utah among the Mormons. He is married and has two adult sons. He blogs about being the parent of a Priest-in-formation at Seminarian Parents.