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Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin, Monday, November 13, 2023



Gospel Lk 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."


Reflection

When I first read today's Gospel, the following felt a bit harsh “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.”


After some reflection I interpret it to mean that sin is going to happen, as we are not a perfect people, however leading others down a path of sin and encouraging others in sinful behavior is an even graver sin.

What I kept thinking of as I read this passage was the dangers of being lukewarm. Meaning you might have faith and claim to love Jesus and follow him, but maybe your actions don’t match your words.


Maybe you go to church every Sunday, but you still party hard on Saturdays. Maybe you believe in Jesus, but don’t believe in the Eucharist. Maybe you believe in the church’s teachings, but still advise someone against them. Maybe you believe in the Gospel, but don’t want to live it out in your own life. Maybe it’s too hard or it would make your friends look at you differently, maybe you’d lose some of those relationships because of it. But what is that?

When I think about it, that is fear. And my question would be, are we going to let the fear win and hold us back? What is most important to us?


In yesterday’s homily the priest had said, “faith without works is meaningless”. This really stuck with me. If you do not live out your faith what are you really showing to others? What is the point of even having that faith? If it is something we keep private and do not share its value can dwindle overtime becoming less real and more of an after thought. We can easily become complacent and lukewarm. Suddenly, we can find ourselves not caring as much when placed in a decision to sin or cause others to sin. It can be easy to fall back on the mantra of "just don’t rock the boat", either to fit in or spare feelings in order to feel more accepted. But that’s just what it is, the easy way out. And who is it really helping?


I recently read a book that posed this question that I now offer to you, “ARE WE GOVERNED BY FEAR?". It went on to ask "Are we willing to go out of our comfort zone and be seen with Jesus? Are we willing to be truly seen by him? Are we willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of the Gospel? And if not, why not? What is holding us back...After all, it really takes no courage to stand up for virtue when it is popular and convenient. But it takes real guts to do so when the situation is reversed.” -Gift and Grit, by Andrew and Sarah Swafford.


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