5MM: Beware of Millstones

Having been inspired by a friend of mine’s new family blog where she sets a timer every day to sit at the keyboard and make some notes about her life, I have decided that would also be a good idea for me. I have a ton of ideas for posts sitting in my draft folder because I am “too busy” to put aside time to develop them well. Though I believe it is important to put time into my writing, I simply don’t have much of it right now, so I will attempt to not let the good be the enemy of the perfect. I may not be able to write every day, but I will try to at least get to it a few times a week. The clock is ticking… so here goes!

As someone who gets paid to teach the faith to young people, yesterday’s Gospel sent chills down my spine: Anyone who leads a little one to sin would be better off sleeping with the fishes. It’s one of those moments that doesn’t dovetail nicely with the idea of a hippie Jesus who just goes around telling people to be nice. And to add to this Bizarro Jesus thing, he starts talking about cutting off our feet and plucking out our eyes? What the heck?

I think it’s pretty simple. Jesus takes sin really seriously. After all, that’s the whole reason he came down from heaven to suffer continuously for 33 years, culminating in the most humiliating, agonizing death in human history: he wanted to save us from sin!

The fact that this is lost on us as 21st Century Catholics is due to the fact that we have lost a sense of sin. This is a great tragedy in the modern world. We shook off guilt decades ago thinking it would liberate us, but it has done the opposite. Sin always enslaves. Reconciliation always liberates. Jesus came to be our Savior, and when we deny that we are sinners, we exclude ourselves from his services.

See, when Jesus talks harshly about sin, it’s not to condemn us, but to free us. He’s like a family having an intervention with an alcoholic: listen, bud. You have a big problem. I love you too much to let you drink yourself to death. If he needs to be candid and blunt, it’s because we need it told to us like it is. Not so we can sit around wallowing in shame, but so we can move from shame, to forgiveness, to joy, to mission.

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