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Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

James 5:1-6 & Mk. 9:41-50

All of us are sinners and Saint James is warning us about the consequences of the injustices we have done. The wrongs over the years and the people we have hurt will be shown to us at our judgement. We may have forgotten many of the injustices we committed but the people we harmed probably have not forgotten the wrong we did. Nor has the Lord. So while we have time let us put to rights the wrongs we have done.

Often we exaggerate to make a point and we do not expect our words to be taken literally. We say, for example, that the heavy object we carry weighs a ton. We know, and the person who hears us appreciates that the weight is not even a fraction of a ton. But what we are carrying is very heavy.

This is how Jesus is talking in today's Gospel. He is purposely exaggerating to make a point. He most certainly does not want us to cut off a hand or pluck out an eye. These external organs are not the cause of our sinning. It is the evil that is in our hearts and minds which is responsible. And it is that evil which Jesus wants us to eradicate. To stress His point He talks about cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye – but does not want us to take His words Iiterally. He is, however, telling us that we must be prepared to make any sacrifice, to stop ourselves from committing any deadly sins. What Jesus is saying makes sense. What is the wisdom in choosing some pleasure that will deprive us of the ultimate goal of life, which is everlasting happiness with God in Heaven? A little child thinks only of the moment. He has neither the experience nor the intellectual development to weigh values. It is impossible for him to understand the consequences of his actions. Unfortunately, there are times when we adults behave in this same immature fashion, living for the fleeting pleasure and refusing to accept the consequences of our own decisions.

Lord Jesus, let us be the wise person who sees everything in the light of eternity. May we recognise that every earthly pleasure lasts but a short time and cannot possibly satisfy us. Only You can do this - for You are the source of our lasting happiness and perfect fulfilment.

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