A reading from the gospel according to Luke 17:1-6
1 Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur.
2 It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4 And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”
5 And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
6 The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Reflection: Forgiveness and Faith
In the gospel reading above, Jesus is reminding us that we live in a society that is full of things that cause us to sin. Despite our good intentions to live a holy life, we often fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That is why there is a need to abide in Jesus all the time because apart from Him, we will go astray.
Jesus cautions us to be aware of our words and actions so that we will have a positive influence on others instead of causing them to sin. His use of the word millstone and being thrown into the sea is a strong warning that we should never be an instrument for others to stumble. As disciples, our task is to bring people to God, not to drive them away.
In today’s world, we often hear of scandals inside and outside the church involving people we look up to. Let us never allow ourselves to be negatively influenced by them. Instead, let us pray for the forgiveness of their sins and for their conversion as we continually pray for the forgiveness of our own sins and our conversion.
Indeed, we are tempted in every way but let us not be disheartened. We ask the Lord to increase our faith and to strengthen our resolve to avoid the occasion of sin. Aware of our own shortcomings, let us be forgiving of others who commit sin. They too have their own struggles. When we learn to forgive, we grow in faith.