“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

The apostle John tells Jesus of a man he and others observed exorcising in Jesus’ name (Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48).  He says they tried to stop him.  Jesus tells John that they should not hinder those working in His name because whoever is with them can and will not be against them.  Then Jesus switches gears and speaks of those who, on the other hand, give scandal.  He starts with the words above.  He goes on to say that it is better to lose body parts that cause one to sin rather than go whole to hell.  Giving scandal is something of which we should constantly be aware.  It starts with leading an upright life and continuously praying and working toward eliminating sin from our lives.  An important key to not falling into scandalous behavior is that there should not be a dichotomy between how we live our lives when others are present and how we behave when we think we are alone (remember: God is everywhere).  We shouldn’t have to “worry” about this because our actions should constantly reflect our Christian values.  If we follow the Lord’s teaching in what we think, the way we speak, the things we view, and the attitudes we espouse, this will penetrate our lives so that in all situations we behave according to our beliefs.  On the other hand, if we fall prey to sinful thoughts and actions when we are not with other persons, this will seep through into our interactions as well.  We do well to think of Nathanael from yesterday who had no duplicity in him.  A single-minded focus on the Lord will avoid the possibility of giving scandal and thus prevent the danger of being cast into Gehenna when we give an account of our lives.

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