How Far Would You Go?

Readings for Thursday September 9, 2010

Memorial of Saint Peter Clavier, priest

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 139
Gospel: Luke 6:27-38

But not all have this knowledge. There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.
Thus, through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin. (1 Cor. 8:7, 11-13)

How far would you go to help somebody? Actually, to be more exact, how far would you go to help somebody avoid sin? Would you completely change your life around just to help somebody else not sin? Would you decide to live radically all for the chance to help somebody else get to heaven? That is what Saint Paul is talking about in his letter to the Corinthians. He is talking about living radically, all in order to build up the Body of Christ. He is talking about changing our behaviors and living radically all to help our fellow brothers and sisters avoid sin. The example he uses is never eating meat again all to help his brothers not to sin. In this example we see the power of being a witness to the faith and helping to lead others down the right path, instead of joining them in the one that leads to destruction.

Today we remember Saint Peter Claver, a Spanish priest who felt the call to go to South Africa to work as a missionary. He is often known as "the apostle to the slaves", because this is the population that he often ministered to the most. St. Peter Claver spent 40 years of his life caring for the sick and the poor, and ministering to the slaves (as well as the slave owners). It was extremely hard work and work that he was often criticized and mocked for. But Saint Peter was not concerned with what other thought or how hard his work was, all he was concerned about was leading others towards God. Saint Peter most likely could have had a nice assignment in Spain working in a parish and not having to deal with the difficult conditions and situations that he did. But his concern was not for himself, he was willing to spend his life for others helping them to avoid sin. That was how far Saint Peter Claver was willing to go.

How far are we willing to go? Are we willing to change the way that we talk and act all to help lead others to heaven? Saint Paul and Saint Peter Claver show that leading others to Christ often begin with our courageous example. Saint Peter Claver once said "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips." May God grant each of us the grace to go out courageously to "speak with our hands."

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with. Help us to be good stewards of you many gifts, and help us to never take this life for granted. Lord help our lives to be an example to others, may we always give you glory for all that you do in our lives. Lord, we love you and pray that all those whom we come in contact with can come to know this love. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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