September 30, 2018 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 1st Reading: Num 11:25–29 2nd Reading: Jas 5:1–6 Gospel: Mk 9:38–43, 45, 47–48
John said to him, “Master, we saw someone who drove out demons by calling upon your name, and we tried to forbid him because he does not belong to our group.” Jesus answered, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in my name can soon after speak evil of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear his name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward.If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand than with two hands to go to hell, to the fire that never goes out.And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out.
(Daily Gospel in the
A preacher began his homily with jokes related to missing body parts. He quipped that a cow without feet is called ground beef, a corner without eyes is called a blind corner, and a hand without fingers is called “Camay” (bath soap). These jokes lead us smoothly into deeper reflection of today’s Gospel reading. The suggestion to dismember our body to avoid sin is not to be taken literally. The whole point is to avoid sin at all cost, even if it should cost an arm and a leg. The sacrifice entailed could be as challenging and painful as cutting off the sinful hand, and tearing out the eye that makes one fall into sin. It’s worth the sacrifice because avoidance of sin always saves the whole person in the end.
In olden times, three things were considered hindrances to salvation, namely: the world, the forces of evil and the body (W.E.B.). The internet has lumped all three in its worldwide web system. Priests and religious have taken up the challenge of fighting sin by practicing the evangelical counsels: chastity (so not to be enslaved by the body), poverty (so not to be enslaved by the material world) and obedience (to have power over evil forces that corrupt the will).
Not all of us are called to practice the vows that priests and religious commit themselves to. But we too are invited to take the challenge in ways suited to our particular way of life. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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