READINGS:Â Numbers 11: 25-29Â /Â Psalm 19: 8. 10. 12-14Â /Â James 5: 1-6Â /MARK 9: 38-43. 45. 47-48
HIS WORDâ€¦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 SEAâ€¦
my wordsâ€¦The Church in the Philippines celebrates every last Sunday of September as National Seafarersâ€™ Sunday, honoring Filipino brethren in maritime works. Today is the 20th National Seafarersâ€™ Day as sponsored by the Apostleship of Prayer on the Sea, and as mandated by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). This celebration is closely connected with the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila (feast day is September 28), the Patron Saint of the Filipino migrant workers. It is said that life at sea poses many challenges to seafarers. For their families left at home, they too experience some turbulence in their family life and felt that to keep sailing in the right direction of life is tough and challenging. Thus the need for us to pray for both the seafarers and their respective families.
Todayâ€™s gospel speaks of three things: first, the company of Jesus includes even those outside of the 12 Apostles; second, the avoidance of scandal that leads the innocent little ones to sin; and third, the stern instruction to lead and live good moral life that would bring people to heaven.
The first point speaks of Universal Salvation. Jesus Himself did not limit the works and offer of salvation to the 12 Apostles exclusively, but even inclusively to those people who profess His name, â€œFor whoever is not against us is for usâ€ (Mk 9:40). This is the reason why the Vatican II Church promotes â€œEcumenismâ€ â€“ the mutual understanding of religions throughout the whole wide world, for majority of these religious groupings profess the name of Jesus. And our profession of faith in Jesus would bring us to eternal life.
The second point speaks of the Protection of the Seed of Innocence of Children. Jesus Himself over-emphasized the avoidance of leading innocent people to sin. And this kind of sin can be accomplished in two ways; namely, seduction and scandal. Morality defines â€œseductionâ€ as the act of asking (seducing) innocent people especially children to commit sin with him or her. And the most common of these cases are sexual sins. â€œScandalâ€ on the other hand, is committed when the action or actions of a person or group of people caused other people to commit sin. By his or her own actions, people commit sin or are â€œscandalizedâ€. These are usually the sins committed by people in public offices or by people who ought to be models in Christian living.
And to the third point, we asked a question: Did Jesus favor human mutilations; that is, cutting human limbs or any part of the human body just to avoid sin? The answer is NO. Jesus just wanted to emphasize a point by using a figurative language or figure of speech called â€œexaggerationâ€ or â€œhyperboleâ€. The point here isâ€¦ SIN should be avoided as much as possible in order to gain eternal life with Jesus.
Brothers and Sisters let us follow the instructions and mind of Jesus; so that we too may gain eternal life with Him.
LET JESUS CHRIST REIGN AND LIVE IN OUR HEARTS AND LIVESâ€¦ (ByÂ Fr. Julius C. Lupot)