We receive a stern warning today about personal behavior from Luke’s Gospel. Jesus says, “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 be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” (NAB, 17:1-2) How often are we the occasion for someone else’s sin?
Sometimes it can be indirectly, such as, by dressing immodestly or acting provocatively, which can draw others into sin. Frequently, however, we implicate others in sin by participating in sin ourselves. Oftentimes we do so in simple ways, through gossip, for example, when we subtly encourage friends, coworkers, or family members to think, speak, and sometimes even act negatively regarding others. Yet, there are times when we directly involve others in sin and we co-conspire to sin. We encourage others to sin when we knowingly cover up or tolerate their sins, even though they may be illegal or violate established rules. There are also times when we directly involve others in our personal sin, most frequently sins related to sex, money, or power. These sins can be the most difficult to eradicate because they are part of the relationship we’ve established with another, and we value those relationships.
We are called today to examine those areas of our life where we do involve others in sin or when we cause others to sin. Lord, enlighten our minds and hearts to see where we are involved in the means of sin. Give us the courage and determination to change our behavior so that we are no longer a stumbling block for others, but rather, through your grace and according to your will, that we lead others to sanctity. Amen.