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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur , but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins , rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him."

And the Apostles said to the Lord, " Increase our faith." The Lord replied, " If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION: "if he repents, forgive him"

I sometimes wonder what happened to people who have asked me for directions....

In today's Gospel setting, Jesus had been asked who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus called a child to his side to emphasize that we need to become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

How many people have been robbed of their innocence as a result of what was done to them? Have we by our actions, our words or our indifference been the cause of another's failure or spiritual ruin?

We are to reflect the image and likeness of God, and who better to do that than a child who is so innocent. Have we by our example underminded the work of God? Christ thought every single one of us was worthy of his life.

Do we bring scandal to the lives of people?

We are all judged by human standards. We all have responsibilty for forming others--be it at the grocery line--are we rude and impatient with a "training cashier", or rude to the receptionist who answers the phone, or do we honk and stare at an elderly person who drives slower, or do we criticize people? Do we criticize our priests? Do we roll our eyes when their names are mentioned? Remember, we are watched by all and it is truly a scandal if we are the reason someone is lost.

We are responsible for the scandal we have caused and we are responsible to repair the damage. Sometimes, it can only be done through prayer and penance, but if we find the person whom we have offended, we need to be contrite. Today we need to start doing good--smile, encourage, be cheerful, forgive and forget the mistakes of others. This is how we become the Face of Christ.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, give us the courage to speak up when we are face to face with evil. Remind us to pray for those who scandalize, who have badly hurt or influenced a child. Please forgive me for the errors of my youth and for any soul I misdirected. May you in your mercy forgive me . AMEN

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