Jesus Christ often uses hyperbole in his preaching to emphasize the truth. In today‟s Gospel Jesus emphasizes the importance of protecting the innocence of children and of all Catholic Christians who believe all that Jesus Christ has taught regarding the essential seven sacraments, heaven, hell, purgatory, virtue and his merciful forgiveness.
“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 un-quenchable fire…Gehenna, where „their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.‟” cf. Mark 9:38-48
Jesus Christ does not want people who deny the Ten Commandments in front of children to die a watery death, but he uses hyperbole to underscore the truth that his plan of salvation needs to be followed as a sign of loving him, for he is a God of love and justice. God wants us to live the Ten Commandments of life, love and freedom, by celebrating his Sacraments prayerfully and with lives of deepening virtue, as a sign of growing friendship with him.
These strong words by our Lord Jesus Christ are spoken out of love for us. Jesus wants everyone to repent and confess their sins, especially their mortal (grave) sins, because they offend and block God‟s love from transforming their heart, soul and mind. Jesus, the God/Man, wants everyone to come to know his great mercy in the Sacraments, for he has truly suffered, died and has been raised up for us in order to establish his Church – His Mystical Body – which continues to minister his saving grace and truth through
the Seven Sacraments.
Our Archdiocese has been through very difficult times with the scandals perpetrated by priests and laity alike. Fortunately, we are in an Archdiocese that takes seriously any credible abuse and has a team of investigators made up of professional laity who respond in order to save any victim from future harm, and, by holding the abuser account-able, will save that abuser from the torments of a perverted con-science („their worm that does not die‟) and fiery Gehenna if they do indeed take the occasion to re-pent. As I wrote in the cover letter to all our Faith Formation families, your child‟s spiritual and physical safety is our main priority.
Under Archbishop Bernard Hebda‟s leadership and with the assistance of Bishop Andrew Cozzens, the Archdiocese is mov-ing into the future with a model of ministry called the “synodal way”, which is a church that lis-tens, responds and applies the healing love, truth, justice and mercy of Jesus Christ to every situation.
Part of the “synodal way” is to have small groups gather to pray, reflect and share their journey of faith with one another under the guidance of Holy Mother Church and her shepherds. This helps empower everyone to know the divine resources that bring them healing, strength and true direction toward an ongoing living relationship with God through Jesus Christ – he who is “the way, and the truth, and the life” of heaven.
Our Holy Trinity Parish has had four offerings of the first small group session. Those who have
attended have been touched with the saving truth and love of Jesus Christ and his Church. They have listened to the Church‟s teachings, prayed together, shared their thoughts and feelings (if they desired) and had an opportunity to give feed-back to the Archbishop through this “synodal” process.
Our parish will offer session #2 this week, and the rest of the sessions, at Holy Trinity Church on Sundays, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, and Tuesdays mornings from 9:00am – 11:00am, and Tuesday after-noon, 4:00pm – 6:00pm.
We will gather in the community hall where you will find a place at one of the tables of no more than eight participants. Please bring a pencil and an open mind and heart so that we can continue this Spirit-filled process of learning about our faith, and how we can move forward guided by the Holy Spirit. These six sessions are not sequential, so make it to any session you can, it is well worth it.
God bless you and your family,
Fr. Thomas McCabe