Jesus warns of the horrific punishment of those who lead others to sin and calls men to faith and forgiveness. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit so he can more effectively battle against temptation and by building the Virtue of Defense so he joyously practice Catholicism and avoid scandal.
32nd Week in Ordinary time – Monday – Lk 17:1-6
After teaching the necessity of charity and humility and the agonizing reality of Hell, Jesus now warns of the destruction that comes to men who cause others to sin. Mincing no words about the abuse of children and the vulnerable, Jesus reveals it is better to be strangled and drowned with a huge millstone around one’s neck than the fate for those who purposefully cause a” little one” to sin. The Gospel of Mark (Mk 9:42-48) further expands on the damnation and horrific punishment (unquenchable fire; ravenous worms that never die) that comes to those who, by scandal, false teaching or abuse, prey upon the innocent and vulnerable.
Jesus turns to the need to offer unlimited forgiveness to the repentant sinner. Jesus makes it clear that sin is condemned, and zealously warns disciples that they must view other men as their brothers, and when their brother sins, disciples must courageously rebuke them. At the same time, disciples of Jesus must forgive men who repent from sin, even if a man repeatedly sins, but then repents.
The stunning demands of Jesus, to not lead others into sin and to offer unlimited forgiveness, cause deep anxiety in the Apostles: they cry, “Increase our faith!” The Apostles, deliberately chosen and blessed by Jesus, have the self-awareness and soberness of mind to realize that Christ’s extremely high demands of holiness exceed their faith; even Jesus’ chosen men have a holy fear of His demands and wrath (to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around the neck). In response, Jesus exhorts the Apostles to seek faith, for even small faith (as small as a mustard seed) can achieve impossible supernatural things (with a simple word, to uproot, move, and plant a giant tree in the sea). Jesus promises that He will ensure the Apostles can keep His impossible demands, if they will start with a small faith in Him.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Consider with holy fear, the fierce response of Jesus to those who abuse “the little ones”: perfection of Justice, Jesus upholds Vindication (a part of Justice by which the thoughts and acts of men are rewarded or punished), Warning of the just and horrific (Hell) punishment that He will mete out to those who corrupt and abuse the vulnerable; Divine King, Jesus commands men, in combative terms (Greek: “be on your guard”) to be vigilant Protectors of the weak (a part of Justice).
Be fortified by the Spirit to battle temptation
Realize: Jesus’ own experience in The Temptation and His teachings, confirm that men constantly suffer the temptation to sin in the daily Spiritual Combat; temptation is, “an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God.”
Believe: Reflect upon Temptation and the Battle for Virtue (CCC 1707, 2846-2849, 2863, 2732-2733).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so I have Your supernatural help to battle temptations, particularly those so prevalent among men (Lust, Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath).
Joyously practice Catholicism to avoid scandal
Realize: Jesus’ grave and violent warning to avoid scandal is relevant to Catholic fathers; every Catholic man must protect his children from sin by avoiding any scandal caused by his failure to joyously and zealously live out the faith.
Believe: Reflect upon Scandal (CCC 29, 2284-2287, 2353, 2355, 2489).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Protector help me build the Virtue of Defense/Protection (a part of Justice) so I always protect my family from falling away from faith by my constant example of striving to joyously embrace the truths of Your Holy Catholic Church.