Sunday, September 26
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
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.'”
The gospel reminds us that the kingdom of God is all-embracing and universal, and that the Spirit of God works where it wills and is not subject to human limits or boundaries. The gospel today goes on to face us with the harsh realities of sin and the consequences of human decisions. The choices of the gospel are clear, we are to conform our lives to Jesus Christ, follow His teachings, and enjoy His benefits. To do less places us in a precarious position where sin can take away the things we value most — our hands, our eyes, and in the end our hearts and very existence in the kingdom prepared for us.
While the gospel holds out to us a pathway for the future life with God in Christ, there are consequences to our decisions if we go in a direction apart from God.
This is a good time to take stock of where we are in our life with God and others and to make the internal corrections needed so that we can come to the life beyond the grave to the eternal life promised by the gospel.