Posts Tagged ‘holding firm’

Salted With Fire

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Thursday of 7th Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 5: 1-8; Mk 9: 41-50

Deacon Larry Brockman

So, “Everyone will be salted with Fire”! Yes, every one of us will be tested, that’s the fire. And the salt represents the good effects, the good taste, that the testing produces in us. The salt flavor is the cumulative goodness from our ability to resist temptation.

Now Sirach gives us an interesting perspective on temptation. He walks us through various attempts to rationalize bad behavior. And people do rationalize in this way. They say to themselves: “I can live with this temptation, flirt with this temptation, because I am strong enough”. Or even worse: “I can get away with this because I will have time to reform”. But Sirach is clear: “Rely not in your strength.” And Sirach admonishes us “not to put off our conversion”.

Jesus message echoes this yet with a little hyperbole. Not only are we to avoid temptation, but we should eliminate the source of the temptation, even if it means cutting off our feet or hands or gouging out our eyes if they facilitate our temptations to sin.

We have just finished the year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. And so, we are all sensitized to God’s great mercy. God does love each and every one of us unconditionally, even when we are sinners. And he is constantly offering us an opportunity to repent and reform. Further, all of us have an obligation to facilitate that mercy by evangelizing our brothers and sisters who are separated from the Church.

But this morning, we are reminded of our obligation to hold firm to the law and the teachings of the Church. It’s not that God will not be merciful to us when we sin. It’s just that we ought not take it for granted just as Sirach explicitly says in the first reading.

You see, our attitude must be one of abandoning ourselves to the Lord’s will at all times, and to obedience to the Lord in the face of difficulty. Then, when we find that we have fallen, mercy will be extended to us. But if we live our lives day to day, knowing in the back of our minds that things are not quite right, but not taking the time or effort to sort out God’s message for us, then we will be like the folks in Sirach’s reading, making excuses, hoping for mercy no matter what we do and what our attitude is.

Not only that, our actions are seen by others. And so when we flaunt with temptation, we can be influencing others. For example, our children see what we watch on TV. What we do speaks louder than the words they hear in religious education classes.   A

ll of us are caught up in today’s whirlwind of daily activity. So, we don’t always take the time to listen to the Lord and reflect on where life is taking us. The message today is that we need to do that. Because we are held accountable for our actions especially if we don’t have the right attitude in our approach to daily life.

In our morning offering, each of us should spend a little time reflecting on where God is pointing us today. And understand that the devil is persistent in offering seemingly attractive and pleasurable things. But we need to contemplate the consequences of all these things. That is how we can assure that our salt does not lose its flavor.