Vocation Meditation -
September 27, 2009
After Jesus had finished teaching the disciples, John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us."
"For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and were thrown into the sea."
"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched."
Jesus responded aptly to John's request. He declared that no one could do a mighty work in His name and be altogether His enemy. Jesus is showing his disciples that the power of God’s Spirit is not limited to working within their inner circle. The Spirit can and does operate through the heart of anyone who is open to God’s love. Thus Jesus acknowledges the efforts of all who work for what is good, just and true for humanity, as serving the reign of God. Everything done for the good of humanity, points ultimately to the triumph of grace which Christ has won for all by His obedience to the Father's will.
Jesus has embraced all of our human life - all its pains and its hopes because God loved the world so much. Everyone, and especially those in need, has a claim upon us because he or she is dear to Christ. Hence, any kindness shown, any help given, even to the least of God's people, when done in the name of Christ will not lose its reward.
Jesus sacrificed everything in His human life to make it possible for us to gain eternal reward. He then invites His followers to make any sacrifice, any self-denial to attain real life and real peace that only He can give. He sternly reminds us that some parts of the body, with certain human instincts, lend themselves to sin. Jesus named the eye and the heart as 'brokers of sin.' If there is anything in our lives which hinders us from living a godly life, it must be rooted out. Jesus laid down the goal of every sacrifice and self-denial. The Christian challenge is now for us, His disciples, to choose life and so enter the Kingdom of God!
"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off...!"
How much do I abhor sin and all its lies?
True happiness and real, satisfying peace cannot be attained without sacrifices. Guide me to take the road less-traveled called self-denial for the sake of the Kingdom. I will be faithful to my vocation every time I choose life, every time I choose Your love more than anything. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.