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Sunday, September 27, 2015

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26th Sunday Ordinary Time

Numbers 11:25-29
James 5:1-6
Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

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making the cut

"If your hand is your difficulty, cut it off! Better for you to enter life maimed than to keep both hands and enter Gehenna with its unquenchable fire." —Mark 9:43

Years ago, I had to change a flat tire at night. While attempting to remove the tire, the jack shifted unexpectedly, and the car fell off the jack. My fingers were pinned underneath the tire. Because the full weight of the car kept my fingers pressed to the road, I could not pull my fingers free, no matter how hard I tried. After some time, praise God, some passersby found me and lifted the van just enough to allow me to pull my fingers free.

My pinned fingers were my "difficulty" (Mk 9:43). Although my fingers are a small part of my body, they prevented my entire body from being free. If no one came to help me, I would have faced two choices: 1) cut off my fingers so my body would be free to live (Mk 9:43), or 2) keep my fingers and have my whole body die because a small part of it was captive (Mk 9:43).

If you are a captive in even a small part of your life, you can be spiritually paralyzed, and headed toward a future in hell (Mk 9:45, 47). Sin can cling to us and keep us immobile (Heb 12:1). Cut out artificial contraception, unforgiveness, gossip, anger, and all other sins. Does anything else hold you captive, such as watching TV, leisure, luxuries, the pursuit of money, or overeating? Make the cut! Be free. Enter eternal life.

Prayer:  Father, I rate all as rubbish if it separates me from You (Phil 3:8). May I throw out all my spiritual trash today.

Promise:  "Would that the Lord might bestow His Spirit on them all!" —Nm 11:29

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, the risen Lord! You are "merciful and gracious...slow to anger and abounding in kindness" (Ps 103:8).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 18, 2015

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