The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B- 31st September, 2012

A quick look at the gospel commentary reveals that today's gospel passage comprises a number of different sayings of Jesus.  That sort of explains why the piece does not read as a unit.  These are sayings that were considered so important by the first Christians that they preserved them by writing them down.  I will just look at one part of this passage.

We are told that if our hand causes us to sin that we should cut it off because it is better to enter into the kingdom crippled than not at all.  Should we really be cutting off our hands to ensure that we can enter the kingdom?  The answer to this question is clear - Jesus is not suggesting that we mutilate ourselves.  The point is that if there is anything that might cause us to sin, we should get rid of it.

The first thing that needs to be clear is what we are talking about when we speak of sin.  Many of us were taught to remember our sins in a sort of list which included how many times each sin was committed.  Unfortunately, this approach encouraged us to develop an awareness of our faults without a corresponding appreciation of our strengths.  Sin is not really about little faults or personal foibles.  Sin is much more significant than that.  Sin is the word we use for anything that obstructs, impedes or distorts our relationship with God.  It is anything that makes that relaitonship more difficult.

Sometimes, when we think of our relationship with God, we are inclined to regard it as something internal and private.  The message of the New Testament is clear - our relationship with one another is indicative of how our relationship with God is doing.  The difficulties that we have in our relationships with others are, very likely, going to be similar to the difficulties we have in our relationship with God.

Whatever about the details of our interpersonal relationships, it is probably true to say that most (if not all) of them boil down to two root causes.  Fear and Pride, two of our strongest impulses, are very often to be found at the bottom of many of our difficulties.  If we can reduce the influence of these two things in our life it is likely that our interpersonal relationships will improve in quality.  When this happens it is likely that our relationship with God will be freed up also.

If Fear or Pride cause you to sin - get rid of them.


Article posted on 30th of September 2012

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