Today’s Gospel from Mark (9:41-50) presents several angles for meditation. It’s also a common reading in that, if you grew up with Catholic education and church on Sunday, have heard it time and again. Perhaps so much so you, like I, roll your eyes. Something caught my attention though. Jesus is talking about sin and quite descriptively says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…and if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off…it is better for you to enter into life maimed and crippled then be thrown into the fires of Gehenna with two hands and two feet. If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter the Kingdom of Heaven with one eye than with two to be thrown into Gehenna.”
Life awaits us at the end of this earthly one. The Kingdom of Heaven is our prize and Jesus leaves no doubt that it entails living eternally with God. In order to enter that life, however, we must pay attention to our actions and seek God’s will over our own. The journey will certainly not be easy, cutting ourselves away from temptations that lead us astray, but the reward surely worth it.