41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
We are used with dualistic approach that we are tempted to evaluate or chose things according to what is good and pleasing to us. Though it may not be a bad idea as such, there is a great danger in this approach, because what is good and pleasing to us, certainly need not be the best for our growth and development.
It is here we are called to make our discernment process on the right path to decide and choose, in all that is good and interesting. In this choice, it is imperatively applied that we do away something which is blocking us to reach to the goal, particularly of our inner freedom and joy.
I invite you all to choose once such thing that block us and why not remove that at least for a day? Let us try that for a day, and slowly it will get prolonged, till we achieve to its logical conclusion.
«If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward»
Fr. Xavier PARÉS i Saltor
(La Seu d'Urgell, Lleida, Spain)
Today, the proclaimed Gospel is somewhat difficult to understand for Jesus' words are certainly very harsh: «If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! (…). And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out!» (Mk 9:43-47). Jesus is very demanding with those of us who are his followers. But Jesus simply wants to emphasize that we have to learn how to give up those things that may hurt us, even though we like them, for they can be the cause of all sin and vice. St. Gregory wrote «we should not covet those things that only meet our material and sinful needs». Jesus expects us to be radical. In another part of the Gospel, it is written: «Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it» (Mt 10:39).
On the other hand, Jesus' demand is actually a demand for love and maturity. We shall not remain without our reward. What will make our deeds meaningful must always be our love: we should know how to offer a drink of water to whomever is in need of it, but not because of any personal interest but, simply, out of love. We must discover Jesus in those more needy and poor. Jesus only severely denounces and condemns those who do evil and shock us, those who make the little ones relinquish the infinite goodness and grace of God.
Finally, we all have to overcome the fire proof. It is the fire of love and charity that redeems us from our sins, and gives us the salt that provides that salty good taste to our love, to our service, to our charity. In our prayers and in the Eucharist we, Christians, must find the strength of faith and the salty good taste of Christ. We shall not remain without our reward!