Christian renewal


November 13, 2017
32nd Week in
Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Wis 1:1-7
Gospel: Luke 17:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, “Scandals will necessarily come and cause people to fall; but woe to the one who has brought it about. It would be better for that one to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around the neck. Truly this would be better for that person than to cause one of these little ones to fall.
“Be careful. If your brother offends you, rebuke him and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in a day but says to you seven times: ‘I’m sorry,’ forgive him.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree: ‘Be uprooted and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel presents two areas of renewal, namely, the area of causing scandal, and the area of forgiveness. “Scandal” is derived from the Greek word “skandalizein” which means, “to make one stumble”. Jesus warns that those who will cause others to stumble in their faith will be jettisoned with a millstone tied around their neck. The warning couldn’t be more stern! A millstone used in Palestine weighed hundreds of pounds. Definitely it is not a comfortable swimming gear unless one intends to commit suicide. The gravity of the sin of scandal justifies the seriousness of the punishment attached.
The Gospel also talks about forgiveness. Under the love commandment, forgiveness is a Christian calling. We cannot just call God “Father” and ignore others begging for our forgiveness. If all we do is pray the “Our Father” and exert no effort in living out the prayer’s demand to forgive, we become the biggest scandals in Christianity. Admittedly forgiveness is one of the hardest Christian tenets to practice. But where the desire to forgive is sincere, the grace of God abounds. One only needs to be humble, swallow pride, and admit that forgiveness is an obligation even if the offender is yet to seek it out.
The Gospel ends with a reminder on the power of faith. Jesus said, “If you have faith even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this (mulberry) tree: ‘Be uprooted and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” It is hard to uproot a mulberry tree because its roots are deeply spread underground. Moreover, mulberry trees won’t grow in the sea. The exaggeration is well crafted. It impresses upon us how powerful faith is in a believer who inspires rather than scandalizes, and whose heart is ready to forgive.– (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:dan.delosangeles@gmail.com.

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