Temptations to Sin

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” ~ Mark 9:43

In today’s Gospel (Mark 9:41-50), Jesus continues his conversation with the disciples; this time the teaching is about the temptations to sin and the drastic measure we must take to rid ourselves of it.

I am glad we don’t take this literately, because Jesus’ point is that we must work to get rid of any sin that has become like a hand, attached to us. He was referring not just to objects, those in themselves are harmless; He was referring to those we hold in our heart: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. These are the root of evil in the world. When we hold on to them in our hearts, they become our masters; providing us with the false sense of wealth. “Rely not on your wealth; say not: ‘I have the power.’ Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: ‘Who can prevail against me?’ or, ‘Who will subdue me for my deeds? for God will surely exact the punishment.’ ” (Sirach 5:1-3)

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