Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (9: 41-50) in which Jesus says if something is causing a person to sin, it is better for them to separate themselves from it.
Fr Paul says, if Jesus was to be taken literally in this Gospel, we would all end up being maimed and half blind. If he is not to be taken literally, are we in danger of watering down any biblical passage, which, to us, seems too severe?

Here the interpretation of the Church must play its part and the Church does not seem to have taken this passage literally.
Some help may be taken from the semitic languages – in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, there is no comparative or superlative language – words like ‘smaller’, ‘smallest’, ‘taller’, ‘tallest’ – they don’t exist. The language, itself, is absolute and unyielding. The contrasts are always absolute – small, big, tall, short – so throughout this passage Jesus is stressing the absolute value of the Kingdom and the absolute horror of diverting anyone from it. How every action is seen and noticed.

The force of example is devastating strong, and we can never know the extent to which our actions, our example, may have encouraged or discouraged others from their pursuit of the Kingdom of God.

For our reflection today, Fr Paul says, we might ask ourselves ‘What sort of example do I set?’