GOSPEL READING: MARK 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48
John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.” But Jesus said, “You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward. But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life cripples, than to have two hands and go to hell,
into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, then to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.”
Summary of Lectio Steps with Gospel Passage.
We read the gospel several times to become familiar with the past event described therein. Where it took place? Why did it happen? Who was involved.
Having listened to the passage and its context, we now move into “meditation” where we allow the passage to remind us of similar events, happenings, encounters in our own life-experience.
Having recognised the passage in life today we are moved to “prayer” of thanksgiving or repentance expressed in our own words interlaced with words of the passage where possible.
(PREPARED BY VOLUNTEERS FROM THE LECTIO PROJECT)
- Remember the times when we were taken aback by the kindness or courage of someone outside of our social circle, different religion or race, or someone we had previously looked down on – “he was not one of us”- and it brought home to us that God’s presence and activity in the world was much bigger than our narrow-minded outlook, “Anyone who is not against us is for us.” Lord, thank you for challenging our small mindedness and opening our eyes to see your work going on in peoples of all religions and people of good-will.
- Can we remember times when we responded to the suffering of another, “gave a cup of cold water to drink”, or volunteered in some charitable activities, and we were conscious that we had received from those we were ministering to much more than we had given? “I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.” Lord, thank you for reminding us that true Christian charity is always an experience of mutual enrichment.
- Remember the times when our own anger flared up in the face of the humiliating treatment of marginalised or vulnerable people – be it in racist comments, inhumane treatment of refugees, manipulation of the vulnerable, human trafficking, unscrupulous landlords or employers, abuse of children– and we could share in those sentiments of Jesus “He would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck”. Lord, thank you for reminding us that there is a place for righteous anger in our following of Jesus.
- Can we remember times when we just knew that we had to renounce something important in our life, something we thought you couldn’t do without, “hand”, “foot”, “eye” – material possessions, reputation, success or popularity, a relationship perhaps, addictions– in order to preserve something even more precious – our integrity, family commitments, justice, service of others? “If your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off. Better to enter into life crippled…” Thank you for the “painful letting goes” through which we have come to a deeper and fuller life.