26th Sunday in Ordinary Time B
Jesus seems to be a little harsh today doesn’t he?? If your eye causes you to sin pluck it out! If your foot causes you to sin cut it off! If your hand causes you to sin cut it off, too! Ugh!
Is he serious about this? Of course not. If he meant for us to take this literally we would all be a funny looking bunch won’t we?
But, we get the point too – don’t we? Jesus here is speaking about the consequences of sin for the community. One person might sin, but it’s the whole community that suffers and so He’s calling us to take charge of our lives and make whatever changes we have to make in order to live his life.
Sometimes, it can feel like cutting off a part of ourselves when we: try to break a harmful habit we’ve had for a long time; simplify our lives so we can have more time for others; reduce our material excesses so as to help those who have less; focus less on ourselves so we can be more attentive to those immediately around us; open our eyes and ears to the larger world of the poor. Making significant changes in our lives can feel like major surgery or, as Jesus puts it, like chopping off a hand, or foot, or plucking out an eye. Who wants to do that!
We do, if we have heard Jesus’ invitation to follow him. And we can because at this Eucharist we are again being offered transforming grace.
This week I was puttering around in Diane’s office in the rectory and I noticed on the mantle over the fireplace is a small stone statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Jesus is clothed in white, his heart is exposed from his chest and his arms are spread open as if to say, “Hey world, look at how much I love you!”
Now the interesting thing about this statue is that it’s missing its hands! Obviously, some time ago this statue fell and the only damage that occurred was losing its hands at the end of each of the arms. They’re missing! I’m thinking, ‘Who would put a damaged statue back on the mantle? Why didn’t they throw it away?”
Then it hit me. What a powerful reminder to a broken person, a broken people, a broken world (broken by neglect, sickness, pain, poverty, broken by sin) that Jesus loves us this much and despite our brokenness he is calling us to be his hands and share his healing and love to another broken person, a broken people and a broken world!
And this is where the transforming grace of the Eucharist comes in. In a few moments we will be receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. With it comes the transforming grace that when receiving it we change from broken people to the Body of Christ ourselves.
We are literally grafted on the arms of the Body of Christ and we become the eyes, the feet, and the hands of Jesus ready to share his love and healing to a broken world!