In today’s Gospel Our Lord teaches us about the power of charity and the gravity of sin. Just as the Lord poured out his Spirit abundantly on the elders in today’s First Reading, so he wants to pour out a Spirit of charity on all believers. Something as simple as offering a cup of water in acknowledgement of Christ is pleasing and powerful in his eyes. This should re-dimension the power of charity in our lives. It doesn’t mean being minimalist–just sticking with a refreshments table–but being generous, aware of the power of charity on a greater scale to move hardened hearts, jaded cultures, and cynical societies.
Our Lord also warns us about the gravity of sin. St. James in the Second Reading warns those who’ve profited at the expense of others that any gain at the expense of charity is the deepest loss for them. Our Lord also warns those who turn someone else from the path of charity to the path of sin: sin puts a spiritual millstone around our necks that one day will drown us in our bankrupt lifestyle unless we seek his help to to liberate us. When we find ourselves in a situation of spiritual life and death a radical response is necessary to survive: if may feel like we’re hacking away a part of ourselves, but in that moment that piece of us to which we’re attached could cost us our spiritual life because we want to hang onto it at the expense of the rest of us.
Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us make a radical response in the face of our sins and return to the path of charity in order to unleash its power for others.
Readings: Numbers 11:25–29; Psalm 19:8, 10, 12–14; James 5:1–6; Mark 9:38–43, 45, 47–48.