Pluck Your Eye Out?


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Gospel Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

Are you going to live according to Jesus or not? Are you going to continue to live a sinful life doing whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want and risk going to Gehenna, which is Hell? He’s pretty blatant in this Gospel. Cut off your hand, cut off your foot, pluck your eye out! Whatever makes you sin—get rid of it! But it’s not easy.

I lived 42 years with no real God in it and I really didn’t realize or think much about my mortality, Heaven or Hell or eternity and where I was going. And then when I started becoming faith-filled, God was showering me with graces and blessing me left and right. I found I needed His help to stop living the way I was .. and this so bad … but I didn’t really want to change. I loved my life the way I was living, just for me, selfish me, anything that I wanted and I didn’t much care how everybody else lived.

But now I know that how I live on this planet matters in the afterlife. How I treat people on this planet matters and whether I’m getting into Heaven or not, but I need God’s help. So I say every single day, ”Lord, I am yours. I surrender myself to you.” And like that little child, I put my hand up and ask Him to lead me.

We also have influence over people around us. So in this Gospel, He says, “Hey, you can’t have these little ones sinning because of you.” I think about those mothers and fathers who have their kids in religious education classes receiving the sacraments maybe through CCD or in Catholic school. Are you, mom and dad, practicing the faith? Are you leading your children down that same path?

I know it’s difficult to go to Mass because, in some cases, it is the most boring thing ever for some people because they don’t know what the Mass is all about. I’m not going to get into an education on the Mass, but I am going to say that if your children are going through CCD or the sacraments, please go to Mass and reinforce their education and their spiritual lives because there’s nothing better than living with God.

I wish I knew that 42 years ago, my entire life would be so different! But that wasn’t God’s plan for me, instead He has me standing here in front of you today. I’m not guilting you. I’m really not. I’m doing it for you. I’m saying it on your behalf, for your soul, for your life. Everything is richer with God. Everything you do on this planet and how you engage with other people is only enriched through a relationship with God and we should give that to the kids, too. There are too many people that look at spirituality and religion and shove it along the wayside. We don’t need that religious stuff—that’s what this culture is telling us.

And on top of that, it’s even within our own church! Jesus is blatant saying, “Hey, you can’t let your egos get in the way. If you sin and you cause any of these other people to sin as a result, you’re going to Hell.” And I think that is what’s happening with the priest scandals and all the things that are coming to light in the Church. Our Lady and Jesus are cleaning house. We are no longer going to put up with people in our Church doing such dreadful things and committing such atrocious sins against innocent people.

So this week, remember what you do. Remember how your actions speak a whole lot louder than words and pay attention to the young ones around. Realize that your actions, your beliefs, are meaningful and don’t taint them. It would be better if you put a huge millstone around your neck and threw yourself into the sea. Wow! It matters, people, how we live on this earth, how we treat, guide and lead our children in a spiritual way as well as every other way.

That is your task this week. Be a true witness of Jesus. Treat people with respect, dignity, and love, and ensure that those children see that in you as well.

Alrighty. I want to hear from you, so please send some comments. A lot of you email me directly, which is fine too, but it would be great to get a conversation going on the blog. Maybe you’re having the same experience as somebody else who’s watching these videos? It’s about a community—we are all spiritual beings. We’re dying for some real connections because in this culture, with smartphones and tablets we are “connected” via technology, but not “connected” in a true vulnerable way to each other and we need that as human beings. That’s what we’re here for on this planet to connect with each other.

Thank you for your time, today—have a blessed and inspired week.

Kendra Von Esh

Kendra Von Esh is a Speaker, Faith Coach, and Author who has a passion to help others to deepen their relationship with God and the Catholic Faith.