“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble (skandalizō), it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. MK 9:42
Jesus made great efforts to heal sinners. He was greatly criticized for His welcome to sinners. He kindly healed them if they “sinned no more.” But in today’s Gospel, make no mistake about it, He speaks with utmost severity about the horror and the destructiveness of sin. “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into bhell, into the unquenchable fire”
Humans do not determine what is or is not sin. That has been determined by God when He created us. Sin is always highly venomous and destructive even when one might not be guilty. The judgement of God will be merciful when the person is ignorant, but terrible damage will be done. If one swallows poison and believes it will cure him, he will still die. One of the most dangerous things one can hear is “if you think it is OK. it is OK”.
In Scripture one of the main names for sin in Hebrew is “awon”. This word means iniquity, depravity. It is a perversity that is an objective reality that does not change. The whole nation for years has been terrified by Covid-19. Sin can do infinitely more damage to us more than any virus. It can destroy our loving relationship with God which is our most beautiful gift from God.
“And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” -Mark 9:47
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.