Prayer: O Jesus, help me to live according to your highest ideals.
Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)
These teachings deal with moral life in the Christian community. First, disciples must give good example to the “little ones” (the newer members). Secondly, they must make radical sacrifices to avoid Gehenna. (Gehenna was a place south of Jerusalem where rubbish was always burning, a clear symbol for hell). When Jesus talks about cutting off a hand or foot, and plucking out an eye, he does not want us to harm ourselves but not to use that faculty for evil.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
If anyone scandalizes a little one who believes in me, it would be better for him if a millstone were tied about his neck and he was cast into the sea.
If your hand scandalizes you, cut it off. It is better to enter life maimed than to keep both hands and enter into Gehenna with its unquenchable fires.
If your foot scandalizes you, cut it off. It is better to enter everlasting life with one foot, than to have two feet and be cast into unquenchable fire.
If your eye is your downfall, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to be cast into hell’s fire which never end.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
- The disciple’s personal conduct should not scandalize other believers.
- Each disciple must be a model. This requires personal sacrifice.
- The hand often reaches for the money and the goods of others. This must stop.
- The eye looks lustfully and sees opportunities for personal satisfaction. This must stop.
- The foot takes the believer into temptations and occasions of sin. This must stop.
- All of these faculties must be curbed and limited. Jesus’ road is narrow and straight.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- I will be your disciple, Jesus, no matter what you demand of me.
- Make me a model to others, keeping them away from sin.
- Jesus, curb my greed. Limit my desires for money.
- Purify my eyes so I can one day see your glory.
- Make my feet take only your path, the straight and the narrow.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will face honestly what needs to be removed from my lifestyle.
- I will ask Jesus to guide me onto his road.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
If your hand or eye or foot scandalizes you, then cut them off.