Gospel: Mk 9:41-50
If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear his name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward. If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck. If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand, than with two hands to go to hell, to the fire that never goes out. And if your foot makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot, than with both feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out. The fire itself will preserve them. Salt is a good thing; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.
If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off James not only mocked the rich for placing their trust in their wealth that will not endure, but for exploiting the poor in order to further enrich themselves. Strong words indeed! In contrast, we strive for material blessings that are honestly gained. We pledge to live a life of integrity. We commit to treat our workers humanely. And we shun exploitation of the earth. Lofty ideals indeed! But what use is being a Christian, proclaiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ, if we will not strive — with the aid of grace — for what God has called us to be.
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