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Temptations to sin

Gospel Reading: Lk 17:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. 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. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 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.”

The Apostles make this plea to Jesus who is teaching them three important things in community living: 1) to avoid causing others to sin, 2) to practice fraternal correction, and 3) to forgive a repentant brother. The Apostles must find these teachings difficult, if not impossible. They are not perfect individuals. They are human, make mistakes, and may lead people to err. To avoid causing scandal within the group, they believe they must have a strong and enlightened faith. To rebuke a brother is fraught with danger. Things may exacerbate, especially if he becomes defensive. The Apostles believe they cannot do it if they have little faith. Who can forgive but God alone? Why do we have the burden of forgiving now? It is also risky to forgive. The natural tendency is to get even, otherwise the erring brother may think his offense is not serious and may do it again if he can easily get away with it. To do all these things, Jesus says, the disciples do not need to have a huge faith. It is enough for them to have faith even as small as a mustard seed.

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In the community, do you treat others with delicadeza? Do you forgive from the heart?

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.