Tuesday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Mark 9:33-50 (NKJV)
33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—44 where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—46 where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—48 where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off!”
Well! That seems a little extreme! And indeed, how the Church would be full of blind and handless people if we took our Lord’s words literally! But there is a simple and obvious point our Lord is making: Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important than whether or not we enter into eternal life. Not a hand, not a foot, not an eye.
And more to the point for most of us, other things are also definitely not more important than eternal life: not our only morning to sleep in, not the football game or the secular youth activity, not the friend, or the romantic interest, or the wayward child who wishes to have his or her sin legitimized. Nothing matters more than eternal life! Not for us, and not for those our Lord has entrusted to our care.
The Lord is calling us to radical repentance. He has come to take away the sin of the world, including all of yours. Let Him have them! Do not repent of “all except this one…I’d like to play with it a little while longer.” In faith, prioritize Heaven and repent of all that would rob you of it. For by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there really is forgiveness, for everything.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, blot out all of my sin, for the sake of Your death and resurrection. Amen.