Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Requirements of the discipleship
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. “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. 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. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ “Everyone will be salted with fire. Mk 9,41-49
In the yesterday pondering the Lord told us as, in his name, it is possible to reach the communion despite the diversity. In the today gospel it is more clear that Christ is the unifying principle of the Christian life: also a minimum gesture of service, as to offer a glass of water in his name, is a subject full of meaning. The signs of charity to the brothers in Christ are the essence of the Christian life: a matter which could seem even trivial is opened to a divine horizon in his name. An horizon which is amplified to every man by Jesus himself when talking of the final judgement: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’…. ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”. (Mt 25,34-40) The opposite of the charity is the scandal: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone was put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea”. (Mc 9,42) Those little ones are not only the brothers in the faith, they are also the poor people: the hungry, the thirsty, the foreigner, the necked, the sick, the jailed. It is easy to make scandal to the poor people: it is enough to abandon them. The small people in the faith and the poor persons are often tempted to quit the Christian community or not to enter into it, because of our individualism and of our indifference. The Lord, by today, says that it is better to cut our hands, if these are useful only to catch, and the feet, if they are only useful to make us far away from him, or to blind our eyes, if we do not use them to search for the truth. This way to live the social relations – Jesus announces today – is the secret to “enter into the Kingdom”. While I was pondering on this page of the gospel I have received a phone call from Alessandra, a lady friend lacking of contacts with me since twenty years, who wished to me an happy birthday. What a teaching!! What a lesson!!