“Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!” (Luke 17:1)
As a kid, I assumed that the devil was the cause of all temptations, but as I grew older, I realised that the devil cannot be blamed in all cases. I could lead myself into temptation when I entertain evil desires. I could also lead others into temptation when I show bad examples or make them think it is okay to sin.
Today, Jesus warns that even if I did not sin, I would be punished for leading others into sin. This is serious. It is not enough that I avoid sin; I must go the extra mile to ensure that I am not a source of another person’s downfall. Jesus paints a gory image to show how serious it is to lead others into temptations. What could be worse than having a millstone hung around your neck and thrown into the sea? (Cf. Matthew 18:7, Luke 17:1).
By their position and office, some persons exercise spiritual authority over others. Whatever they do influences the decisions of others, especially those who are not mature in the Faith. Jesus refers to such persons as “little ones” not necessarily because they are young but because they are affected by the choices and behaviour of religious leaders.
In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says: “For if anyone sees you, a man of knowledge, at a table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge, this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.” (1 Corinthians 8:10-13).
As a priest, a parent, a teacher, a leader of a church group, a government official, a celebrity, etc., I might not see anything wrong with visiting certain places or associating with certain people. Still, I must be careful not to send out the wrong message lest I cause others to fall.
Our first reading today says: “Wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin…” (Wisdom 1:4). Could it be that I have become so enslaved to sin that I no longer see anything wrong with what I am doing? Let us always put ourselves in the shoes of the little ones who look up to us as mentors and guides. Be good; you do not even know those who are watching you.
_Saint of the Day:_ Today, we remember St. Homobonus of Cremona. He was the son of a well-to-do tailor and merchant. He became a tailor himself and took over his father’s business. He was a married layman who devoted most of his profits and some of his house space to charity. The saints are not extraordinary people but ordinary people who do extraordinary things.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may I never be a source of temptation to others. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Wisdom 1:1-7, Ps. 139:1-10, Luke 17:1-6).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu