Faith Daily | 24 February 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 540
you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law:
grant that we may love you with our whole heart,
and our neighbours as ourselves;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 9: 41-50
41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
42 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell,* to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?* Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rachel McFadyen
This passage is complicated - there is so much in it! What did Jesus mean by telling us to cut off our hands or feet, or tear out an eye? Sounds a bit drastic! – even crazy. But what about the first two verses? Conventionally, the “little ones” here are children, and it is appropriate to have heavy penalties for anyone who harms children. But this took place immediately after the disciples had stopped a man from casting out demons because “he is not one of us”, and Jesus said they were wrong to do so.
Was this man maybe the “little one” who had been caused to “sin”? He was “little” in their eyes because he lacked authority: remember that this was also just after the Transfiguration, and the disciples were beginning to believe that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the promised one of God, and were starting to jockey for positions of power in the coming Kingdom.
So if this man was the “little one” Jesus was talking about, what was the sin? To doubt the power of God to work through him, to doubt his faith in Jesus which gave him the power to cast out demons – as he had been doing successfully.
A commentator on bibleref.com wrote “We need to seriously consider our church culture, whether our rules keep others from fulfilling their God-given responsibilities of serving God.” Rules that in too many churches still keep women from leadership responsibilities, or prevent a person in a faithful same-sex relationship from exercising any role in their local church.
The question is, who is “one of us”? Jesus’ answer (vs. 40) was “whoever is not against us is for us.” We all need to reflect on this prayerfully.
Lord God, only You know who is with you, only You can judge a person’s heart and faith. Give us the humility to accept faithful service even if it is offered by “outsiders” who may not be “one of us” or conform to our rules. Help us to see that we are all “little ones” in your presence, and give us grace to accept all whose actions show their faith. Amen