What an awesome first reading today from 2 Corinthians 4. “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persectued, but not abondoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” This kind of language from St. Paul always gets me fired up! The world can kick us and beat us and abuse us, but we will never give up, because God will never give up on us! Hallelujah!
In the Gospel reading today from Matthew 5, Jesus talks about taking some pretty drastic measures to do away with sin in our lives. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” Pretty harsh stuff, huh? I have often heard that Jesus is using a literary tool called hyperbole here to make a point; that He didn’t mean it literally. This is true to a point. But I also believe that He certainly could have meant it literally. Why do I say this? Because it is NEVER our eye or our hand that causes us to sin.
Sin is a turning away from God. Your eye or your hand or any other body part, for that matter, could never make that decision on its own. It is our mind, our heart, our spirit that causes us to sin. We have to make a conscious decision to disobey God. So what do we do? Cut out our heart? After all, it is just a muscle. No, and this is where the hyperbole comes in. Jesus is making that point that we have to take radical steps to cut out the sin in our lives. Radical surgery, if you will. And Jesus, the Divine Physician, is just the one for the job.
Father, we give Jesus permission today to perform the radical surgery we need to cut out sin from our lives. Give us the grace and courage to let Jesus operate on us every day. Amen.