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Avoid Sin And Have Peace Of Mind


Avoid Sin And Have Peace Of Mind

Thursday of week 7 in Ordinary Time 

James 5:1-6
Psalm 48(49):14-20
Mark 9:41-50

In today’s gospel, Jesus gave us a profound warning against sin. Sin is something we should avoid. As I reflected on these words, I thought about the harrowing stories of people caught in natural disasters and having to gnaw off a hand or something to free themselves from whatever was trapping them.

It’s an extreme situation. Maybe Jesus wants us to be as extreme for our spiritual survival as we can be for our physical survival. But can we be that extreme in avoiding sin and following Jesus?

I don’t think Jesus is asking us to mutilate ourselves, but there are things we may need to cut off, which can sometimes feel as precious to us as a part of our body, such as resentment or hateful feelings we’ve been nurturing for a long time, or sentiments we simply can’t find the will to let go of. Is there something we need to cut off, or, perhaps more accurately, let Jesus cut off, from our minds and hearts?

How can we be extreme in letting go of what leads us to sin and taking up what leads us to Jesus? Jesus says at the end of today’s gospel, “Everyone will be salted with fire…Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

In the light of Pentecost which we celebrated this past Sunday, perhaps we can see Jesus’ words referring to the Holy Spirit. If we keep salt in the fire of the Holy Spirit, we will have what we need to be extreme in following Jesus and finding peace.

Fr Joseph Osho

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