St. Mark 9: 38 – 50

Feb. 28, 2022

38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

Dealing with our own failings. It’s so much easier to deal with other peoples’ sins, isn’t it? I mean, we can spot the sin in another person fast as lightening. Sometimes we don’t even have to know the person – all we need is a quick glance and we’ve got them pegged. Sinner! Our own mirrors are about forty miles away and from this distance, we’re lookin’ kinda good, aren’t we?

Of course we’re only fooling ourselves. Sins? We got ’em! The only shipments the supply chain doesn’t effect is the daily shipment of sins we pile up to the ceiling, like a hoarder. And like a hoarder, after a very short while, we don’t ‘see’ those sins anymore. We just keep finding room for them.

As my church closed in 2020, I’ve been attending church online and so, come Communion time, I use the form for ‘Spiritual Communion’. In the form, after the Gospel reading, is this instruction: “Take a moment to think of the failures of the past week; recall any sins you have committed since your last Communion and offer them to Christ.” In other words, what body part should I cut off or pluck out? Do you know, I can’t think of a single sin I’ve committed, aside from the occasional disgruntlement with my husband. I must be a saint! Yeah … I wonder what Jesus would say.

A very dear friend of mine in England has agreed to share sins (via email) and for us to hold each other accountable. We have determined that for the worst sins we commit, we will charge the offender with five Lord’s Prayers and five Hail Marys as penance. The least offensive sin will require one Lord’s Prayer and one Hail Mary; everything in between will fit within the parameters. As we chatted about this plan, I suggested that the early emails will probably have scant items to evaluate. I think it’s going to be a process to actually see ourselves and to pinpoint the deeper sins.

Before I close this, I do want to bring up ‘besetting sin’. That’s a sin that a person may commit over and over again. If you find you have a besetting sin, I suggest speaking to your priest. Roman Catholics have confession every week (at least that’s my understanding) but Anglicans have ‘general confession’. A besetting sin requires help from your priest – Anglicans can, and do, have auricular confession, we just have to make an appointment. Better to embarrass yourself in front of the priest than “… to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

2 thoughts on “St. Mark 9: 38 – 50”

    1. The benefit of the priest is in Scriptures he may assign or as, an old saying now, a Dutch uncle – giving us that talking to we probably need very badly.

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