Save Me Lord in Your Merciful Love
Sometimes the readings at Mass can make us feel a little uncomfortable, and this week is a case in point. In the Second Reading, St James (5:1-6) explains very clearly that if someone spends their earthly life exploiting other people by lying, cheating and hoarding their wealth, they may enjoy the benefits for a while, but they cannot escape justice forever. And then in the Gospel, JESUS explains that un-repented sin has consequences and leads to our eternal ruin.
I think we would all agree that in our lives there is a constant battle going on between good and evil. But Our Lord has already won the battle, and it’s up to us to accept the grace He is offering us to live as one of the redeemed. But we have to fight temptation. In today’s Gospel Our Lord says, “If your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off… if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off… if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out… It is better to enter life without [these] than to be thrown into Hell.” Our Lord is speaking metaphorically here – He doesn’t expect us to maim ourselves – but He is telling us of the grave danger of sin and to avoid whatever leads us to it, because sin can lead to eternal separation from God. So we have to guard ourselves against evil and avoid the occasions of sin. Pray, go to Confession regularly and be strong, because there is a lot of pressure for us today to conform to the ideas of the world, and to make light of disobeying God’s Laws, especially in the area of morality. Remember, all sins, no matter how bad you might think they are are forgiven by a good and sincere sacramental Confession. God pardons everything when we tell Him we are sorry. And is there not something very beautiful about going to Him and asking for His forgiveness? “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).
But Our Lord also points out in this Gospel that Judgement has another part to it too. He says that even to give a drink to someone who is thirsty has its eternal reward. Think of what this means: every time you forgive someone, every time you give to a worthy cause, visit the sick, help the needy, give someone good advice, every prayer you offer for somebody or for the Souls in Purgatory – all this has its eternal reward. God sees and remembers everything. “Store up treasure for yourselves in Heaven” (Matt 6:20). So let us strive always to do good and avoid evil, and God will surely reward us.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC