Taken for Granted

Mark 9: 41-50
Sir 5: 1-8 / Psa 1

I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
(Mark 9: 41)

Do not drive away from your door
The poor, the sick and unwanted;
Might be Christ we chose to ignore,
What if He takes us for granted?

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9: 41-50)

Reflection

In his homily at yesterday’s noon mass, the Nigerian priest asked the parishioners if they were aware that a miracle had happened that day. Answering his own question, he said simply, “You woke up this morning. That’s the miracle.” His point was if not for the grace of God in our lives, we could just as well be one of those lives snuffed out by a cyclone, an earthquake, a tsunami, a terrorist’s bomb, or by the number one killer in the world today, a heart attack. But we were all safe and healthy in that peaceful house of God, witnessing and partaking of another miracle, the transformation of an ordinary bread into the living Body of our Savior. And we never gave it a thought; we just took it all for granted.

We are thankful for a glass of cold water offered on a hot afternoon, but just as easily take the favor for granted afterwards. But Jesus said He will not forget — that person “will certainly not lose his reward.” In the same manner, we may not give pause to the kind of example we show to the “little ones” — the insignificant people in our lives, like our servants in the house, the office janitor or lowly clerk, the fruit vendor at the corner street, the beggar knocking on our car window, or even our own children. But it is our very attitude towards these “little people” – whether we build up their hope in a loving God, or tear it down by our prejudice and indifference – that will determine our standing with God. We can never take their presence in our lives for granted, because Jesus is in every one of them.

As Christian leaders, we have a grave responsibility to build up the faith of subordinates or people over whom we have influence, directing them towards the kingdom of God. We can do this by having a forgiving spirit, by honest business dealings (Be Honest Even if Others are Not!), by kind and encouraging words we speak, by being generous to those who seek our help, and by sharing the Word of God to the spiritually famished. These are the little things that matter, that we must never take for granted, because God can use them to make miracles in other peoples’ lives.

Last, but certainly not the least, we must never take the danger of sin lightly. In fact, Jesus tells us to treat it ruthlessly. Better to be maimed and blind in life, than be whole and end up in hell. Thus we must cut off all worldly practices in our life: what we do, where we go, and what we see (pornography?) How unfortunate for many, that these are the things they just take for granted.

Instill in us the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, dear God, so that we may see each day in our life as a miracle of Your loving grace, and strive to live according to the Gospel values of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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