Friday June 14, 2024

What needs to get cut out to make room for love?

Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica

“Jesus challenges us to discover the parts of our lives that need to be cut off and tossed out.”

Good News Reflection for:

Friday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2024

Today’s Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ: Today I give up before You everything that drives me away from Your paths and chains me to evil and sin. Take control of my life. Purify me and give me the strength I need to follow You with strong decision and courage. Amen.

SaintsSubscribe to Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:

Today’s Readings:

1 Kings 19:9a, 11-16
Ps 27:7-9,13-14
Matthew 5:27-32
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

What needs to be cut off and thrown out?


[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

Imagine this: A person who is steeped in sin turns to Jesus. Gradually, Jesus helps him get rid of all his major sins, except one. For whatever reason, the man is attached to this sin. Jesus gives him opportunity after opportunity to let go, but he doesn’t want to do the work that’s necessary for overcoming it.

So Jesus cuts off and tosses out whatever the man has been leaning on, making him fall. In desperation, the man looks for a way out. The only good view is up, and there Jesus waits. He grabs onto Jesus, ready for a new life. What had been a disaster becomes a great blessing.

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus challenges us to discover the parts of our lives that need to be cut off and tossed out. He points out that sin starts in the heart. For example, in the case of adultery, even if we only fantasize about having an affair, we’re sinning. Why? Because adulterous thoughts push away our concern and love for the spouse who’s now being abandoned, even if only for a few moments.

This is true also for those who are single, for their Spouse is God. Therefore living as if married without being married is adultery against God.

Jesus extends this teaching to any area of our lives where sin pushes love aside. Our eyes cause us to sin if we watch movies with lust-producing scenes, for example, because these images imbed themselves in our minds and affect our thinking. We must “tear out and throw away” whatever endangers purity and holy thoughts.

What about unloving behaviors that were taught to us in childhood, or bad habits or addictions or fears? Do we excuse them, or do we overcome them?

Jesus continues with an even stronger call to cut out what is unloving, again using adultery as an example. Since marriage is a commitment, and breaking any commitment is unloving, then divorce — from a valid marriage — is a sin. (Divorce is not always a sin. The Church’s annulment procedure is meant to be both a healing process and a good way to prove the invalidity of a marriage. But it’s not an escape hatch for valid marriages.) This makes more sense if we read the next verses, Matt. 5:33-37. Breaking an oath — including the marriage oath — is unloving.

Jesus is asking all of us: “What’s in your heart? What needs to get cut out to make more room for more of My love?”

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© 2024 by Terry A. Modica

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