Pray For Something That Will Not Make You Trip And Fall

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There was a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.  One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”  The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying: “Just take care of my eyes dear.”

A similar story about a blind man whose sight was restored by praying to a saint.  After he received this enormous gift, he prayed again and said if my sight was not good for my soul take it away.

The gospel reminds us that we are the ‘little ones’ who are often led away by ourselves, deceived by the devil to think that if only I could see, or if only I were rich, or taller I would be happy.  However, if I was taller, or richer, or the preferred one in the family, I probably would not be in church; I would be unbearable.  I would easily be much further from God and therefore suffering a lot.

The gospel is using a metaphor when it says cut out the eyes or the hand or the foot.  Jesus means do some violence to ourselves so we can save our lives and not be cast down into Gehenna, the place where the fire is not quenched.  If your eyes lead you to sin, control them, look up or down, don’t look at every pretty girl or every nice car.  Your feet represent your conduct along the path where you walk.  In your job or your school can the people see that you have faith.  They see that you don’t go along with the crowd.  They see that he even suffers rather than to do something foolish.  The eyes represent what I can perceive and judge to be the truth of things.  If you have this discernment, you cannot be easily led astray by a bad group of kids or an illegitimate business deal or whatever.  The girl in the first story was able to see but in the end she was blind to the gift her boyfriend gave her, and the love he always showed her.  Don’t we often do the same thing?

One of the saints was saying our mission as a Christian is to be a martyr, to be a witness.  We were created for this.  To a group of young seminarians, he said, not to long ago, that a third of you will go to jail for preaching the gospel.  This is the way the world is going.  It does not allow the truth to be voiced.   And those who preach the truth will suffer and some will be killed.

Jesus seems to be saying either be a ‘little one’ or ‘one who trips the little one.’  Which one do we want to be?  If you cause one of these little ones to sin, a great and heavy millstone will go around your neck and cause you to be thrown down with great violence to a place where the fire is not quenched.  Believe in the promise that God makes to us: all men and women will come and bow in my presence.  The end of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah ends with this phrase.

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