“Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1-2)
Today, we hear Jesus saying to us: “Temptations to sin are sure to come but woe to him by whom they come.” Temptations do not happen in a vacuum. Satan uses human agents in leading us sin. As Jesus warns, the consequence of leading others to sin is worse than having a millstone hung around one’s neck and thrown into the sea. The question immediately arises: “How do I know if I am leading anyone to sin?” or better put, “How do I avoid scandal?” The answer is simple: AVOID PRETENCE.
Very many Christians today are living in pretence. They go the extra mile to look good before others, but are something else in secret (when they think no one is watching). Dear friends, you are not what you say you are, you are what you do especially when alone. Never think you can deceive anyone because nothing can ever be hidden from God.
As our first reading today says: “wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin. For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit, and will rise and depart from foolish thoughts, and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness…. God is witness of inmost feelings, and a true observer of (our) heart.” (Wisdom 1:4-6)
Unforgiveness is one common scandal prevalent amongst Christians today. It is shame that despite our “holiness”, when we are offended, we behave exactly the same way as pagans do; we carry grudges in our hearts for years and keep looking for a chance of revenge. It gets so bad that we never stop narrating the hurts done to us.
Jesus tells us today: “If your brother sins against you seven times in the day and turns to you seven times and says ‘I repent’, you must forgive him.” Oftentimes, we fake forgiveness. How? We say we have forgiven, but we cut off all ties with the person. “I forgive you oh but I don’t want to ever see you here again.” I wonder how you will feel if on the day of judgement, God says to you: “I forgive you all your sins you can’t come close to me anymore; just go to hell.”
Bear in mind that when it comes to forgiveness, the earlier the better. The best time to forgive is as soon as it happens; long before the other person apologizes. The truth is that they might never admit their fault. If you are waiting for an apology, you are like someone who has been wounded seriously but is refusing to go to the hospital for treatment. What happens to a wound when it is not treated immediately? The minor sore becomes a large sore, it swells, mucus comes out, it becomes infected and starts to decay, soon it spreads to other parts of the body. The pain increases and the person becomes a walking dead.
Food for thought: We live in an age of very questionable fashion. What has become acceptable is fashion designed to make the human body sexually appealing. Our clothes are skin-tight, short, transparent and revealing; everyone is naked. By merely looking at someone, you can tell the size and shape of their body parts. The goal of modern day fashion is LUST. Jesus says: “temptation to sin are sure to come but woe to him by whom they come!” Before stepping out of your house, remember to give an honest look to the mirror and answer these questions: Is my dressing a source of temptation? Why must I be a tool in the hands of the devil?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me wisdom that I may never lead others astray. Amen.
St. Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Bible Study: Wisdom 1:1-7, Psalm 139 and Luke 17:1-6).