Gospel Reflection on Mark 9: 38-43,45,47-48 by Alex Oliveros

Alex Oliveros – Junior

This Gospel gets can get pretty explicit in terms of Jesus’ metaphors. For example, Verse 42 says it would be better for a person causing others to sin to drown in one of the most violent ways I’ve ever heard. However, in my opinion, there are several valid reasons for this.

The first one is the fact that people tend to understand things with examples and metaphors rather than a straightforward explanation. Jesus directly says this in his explanation of the Parable of the Sower. The second is that these more extreme examples probably make people take notice of what he’s trying to say rather than a more boring analogy. The third (and probably most important) is that Jesus isn’t joking about the consequences of hell. 

What can we take away from all this? Well, an important message Jesus is trying to pinpoint is to find the parts that are causing us to sin and fix that. Obviously, He doesn’t mean literally amputate parts of our body, but He is asking us to think about our faults. If we lie or steal, what’s causing us to do that and how do we change?

Perhaps there is a routine or person in your life causing you to stress or enabling sin. Is that actually important to your life? Maybe you’re thinking about wiping half the population because of low resources. What are better alternatives that truly help people? If we “chop off” these parts of ourselves we begin to have a more virtuous life. 

Another important lesson here is the warning of hell. In my opinion, we tend to stray away from the thought of hell nowadays. This isn’t completely a bad thing as teaching a message of fear is not the way to preach God’s message.

But forgetting about hell can also lead to laziness or lead to us deciding our own rules to get to heaven, thinking that if we believe in God and maybe do some nice things here and there, we are good to go for heaven. But if we decide what our own values are then we aren’t really following God, just ourselves.

It’s a complicated issue because sometimes we hold values we believe are just, and they might not align with God’s. But ultimately the rules God sets are for our happiness. It’s not supposed to be a power play or a way to enslave us. And if we decide we don’t want that, then that’s what hell is. It’s not necessarily a burning wasteland as a form of punishment, but it’s a choice we make to be separated from God.