In today’s Gospel we don’t meet the meek and quiet Jesus, but instead encounter Him calling us to a radical response to God's call to holiness. He says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away" (Matthew 5:29).
Jesus isn’t really calling us to dismember ourselves, but instead is pointing out something we don’t often pay attention to. He is reminding us that sin is something so detrimental to our relationship with God that drastic measures need to be taken to make sure we stay close to Him.
As is natural for the Christian life, when I first started to seriously live out my Catholic faith, I still made mistakes. And while I frequently confessed my sins, a slow deepening of my conversion was happening over time. I started to realize that it wasn’t enough to simply not do the thing. It was wrong of me to think about the thing, or even put myself in a situation where the thing might happen. Jesus was calling me to a place of drastic love for Him.
The traditional Act of Contrition (prayed after confessing one's sins) says: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God" (source).
The beauty of a deeper communion with God is not that we simply are afraid of doing wrong, but that we hate our sin because it offends the One Whom we love the most. Jesus is calling us to move from an immature, reactionary response to a more intentional and devoted love for the Lord. Let us answer the call today, sisters.
Do you know about Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)? Her conversion story is a deep and winding road. Take courage reading it today and ask for her to pray for your full conversion of heart.
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.