"If your foot is your undoing, cut it off!" —Mark 9:45
Jesus commands us to gouge out an eye or cut off a hand or foot under two circumstances. Jesus does not mean for us to literally maim ourselves, but He emphasizes that we should go to great extremes to resist temptations, especially temptations to sin sexually (Mt 5:28-29) or to oppose another's ministry (Mk 9:39-47).
Most of us are surprised by these emphases because we don't think an impure glance or a negative reaction to another's ministry the worst sins imaginable. But we must lay aside our ideas and take on Jesus' priorities. We must not even mention or allude to sexual sin. Our "holiness forbids this" (Eph 5:3). In addition, we should never hinder, criticize, or gossip about the ministries of other Christians, even if they are from a different denomination or theological background. We must oppose heresies but always encourage those ministering in the name of Jesus, even if not of our company (Mk 9:38). We should be more willing to cut out our tongues and maim our physical bodies than to maim the body of Christ by saying a discouraging word about another Christian ministry.
Prayer: Father, may I maim my physical body before I would maim the body of Christ.
Promise: "God will redeem me from the power of the nether world by receiving me." —Ps 49:16
Praise: St. Polycarp died for the faith at the age of eighty-six by being burned at the stake.
Reference: (Presentation Ministries' Lenten Retreat Imitation of Christ will be held March 11-12, 2006. To register or for more information, call 937-205-0128 or e-mail email@example.com)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005
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