Mark 9: 41-50

For 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.

“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. If 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.

And 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. And 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, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt 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.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

Attitudes and Actions

We are approaching the season of Lent. It is a time to center our hearts, to fix our eyes on Jesus, to live out his Word, to match our own actions to his life-giving deeds. Today’s readings engage us in frank talk about what this might look like.

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” The truth is that our world view will have a greater sense of depth if we are seeing with both our eyes, and our physical actions throughout the day will be more balanced and effective if we can do them with two hands. It’s that same balanced view of reality that leads to effective spiritual health and grace-filled leadership in our professional and personal lives.

Today’s first reading from the letter of James points up the self-centered realities of life prevalent in Jesus’ day—realities certainly alive and well in our own experience. As I approach Mardi Gras weekend and the beginning of Lent, what kind of “course correction” to my attitudes and actions does Jesus ask and invite?

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Lord,  as Lent approaches, we anticipate our recommitment to be “living with one foot raised” ready to be your hope to others. We surrender all that we are to be filled with your Spirit so that when people meet us, they meet you.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team