Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 9, 41-50

'If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

'But anyone who is the downfall of one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone hung round his neck.

And if your hand should be your downfall, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire thatnever be put out.

And if your foot should be your downfall, cut it off; it is better for you enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.

And if your eye should be your downfall, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell

where their worm will never die nor their fire be put out.

For everyone will be salted with fire.

Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage from the Gospel of Mark should be read in the context of the conditions set by Jesus for entering and remaining in the community of the children of the Kingdom of God. It is true that they are demanding words, but only because the Lord came to establish a new and stable way of life that demands radical choices. Consequently, the Gospel is severe with those who tempt or endanger the faith of the little ones, that is, those who scandalize the weak and the poor in the community. To "scandalize" means to "make stumble," to "make fall." The term "scandal" is used in Scripture to indicate everything that acts as an obstacle for others on the path to goodness. Keeping others from knowing the good means closing the door to understanding the Lord, the source of goodness and love. This is why "scandal" is so serious. Whoever creates an obstacle to faith and whoever refuses to help someone in need is severely condemned by the Gospel. Jesus goes as far as saying that it would be better for these people to put a millstone around their neck and throw themselves in the sea. Jesus’ words are severe: we obviously should not take this recommendation literally, but we should understand that there is a main concern we cannot avoid: we cannot be a stumbling block for anyone on the path to love. The Gospel demands that we be severe with ourselves. In general, the opposite occurs, as we know well from personal experience: we are hard with others and indulgent with ourselves; ready to accuse others and more than eager to excuse our errors; or, as is said in another Gospel passage, ready to see the speck in another’s eye but unable to recognize the beam in our own. The Gospel always demands that we reject evil, wickedness, and selfishness. This is the only way to preserve the flavour of the Gospel. "Have salt in yourselves," Jesus says, that is, "Have love in yourselves." And from love comes peace.