Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 13.11.2023
WISDOM 1: 1 – 7
Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth, think of the Lord with uprightness, and seek him with sincerity of heart; because he is found by those who do not put him to the test, and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him. For perverse thoughts separate men from God, and when his power is tested, it convicts the foolish; because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin. For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit, and will rise and depart from foolish thoughts, and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness. For wisdom is a kindly spirit and will not free a blasphemer from the guilt of his words; because God is witness of his inmost feelings, and a true observer of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue. Because the Spirit of the Lord has filled the world, and that which holds all things together knows what is said.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 139: 1 – 3, 4 – 6, 7 – 8, 9 – 10 (R.) 24b
R/. Lead me, Lord, in the way everlasting.
O Lord, you search me and you know me.
You yourself know my resting and my rising;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down;
You know all my ways through and through. R/.
Before ever a word is on my tongue,
You know it, O Lord, through and through.
Behind and before, you besiege me,
Your hand ever laid upon me.
Too wonderful for me, this knowledge;
Too high, beyond my reach. R/.
O where can I go from your spirit,
Or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there. R/.
If I take the wings of the dawn
or dwell at the sea’s furthest end,
even there your hand would lead me;
your right hand would hold me fast. R/.
Philippians 2: 15d, 16a
You will shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.
If your brother turns to you seven times, and say, I repent, you must forgive him.
LUKE 17: 1 – 6
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, then that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostle said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Loving Every Sinner
Monday, November 13, 2023
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one 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.” (Luke 17:1–2)
Having a millstone placed around your neck and thrown into the sea is very descriptive. Jesus is using very evocative language. A millstone was a large round stone with a hole in the center. If it were placed around someone’s neck and they were thrown into the sea, they would obviously sink to the bottom and die. Thus, Jesus is clearly stating that this awful fate is actually better than the fate of those who cause “one of these little ones to sin.”
First of all, it should be clarified that no one can actually cause us to sin. Sin is our own free choice, and we, and we alone, will be held accountable for our own sin. One thing that Jesus is pointing out here is that even though every person must take responsibility for their own actions and their own sins, we must also take responsibility for the ways that we act as tempters of others. We are all sinners. Therefore, by our sin, we will all tempt others to sin also. Sometimes we will tempt people to sin by provoking them to anger. At other times we will tempt others to sin by setting a poor example. And on the contrary, we also have the ability to “tempt” people to virtue. Or more properly speaking, to inspire and encourage them.
With that said, Jesus explains that the fate of those who act as tempters of others, especially the “little ones,” will suffer consequences graver than an untimely death. The little ones of which Jesus speaks should be understood as those who are weak in faith, overly sensitive, particularly vulnerable at that time in their life, and susceptible to outside influence. This could be a child, or it could be someone who is currently teetering on the edge of despair, confusion, anger, or any serious sin. When you encounter people like this, how do you treat them? Jesus has a deep heart of compassion for these people and wants us to have the same depth of compassion. But sometimes we fail. We may be negligent in our duty to reach out to them. Even this negligence could be a form of causing “one of these little ones to sin.” Of course, it is even far worse if we were to actively agitate them, harshly judge them, provoke their anger, draw them into some sin of weakness and false consolation by our temptation, etc. The simple truth is that Jesus loves those who are weak, vulnerable and sinful, and He wants us to love them with His heart. When we fail to do so, Jesus will hold us accountable for their further fall from grace.
Reflect, today, upon the person or persons in your life that appear especially vulnerable, sinful, confused and lost at this time. Who is it that struggles with anger, or an addiction or some sinful lifestyle? Ponder your attitude toward them. Are you judgmental, condemning, belittling and the like? Do you tempt them to fall further into any sins of weakness they commit in a vulnerable state, thus leading them into further sin? Or, when you encounter someone who is greatly struggling, do you turn to them with the deepest compassion and mercy, forgiving any ways that they may sin against you, and work hard only to be there for them in their need, no matter how hard it is on you? Commit yourself to a profound love of all of God’s “little ones” and seek to serve them with the heart of Christ so that one day they will eternally rejoice with you in Heaven.
My most compassionate Lord, You love the sinner and deeply desire that they turn to You in their need. Please give me Your heart of compassion so that I will be free to love them as You love them. May I never become an instrument of temptation for them to fall further away from You but, instead, become an instrument of Your unfailing mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.