The “Word of God” is also called “Good News” or in Greek εὐαγγέλιον • (euangélion). Reading the gospel of this weekend, especially the passage:
“ …if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell” (Mark 9:45-47).
I stopped for a while and thought: “is this what we call good news? Isn’t it that good news brings joy, peace, comfort and hope?” These couple of questions were with me for a couple of days until I had a great opportunity to be in solitude at Mount Schoenstatt Spirituality Centre in Mulgoa last Thursday afternoon. I brought up these two questions in my prayer. Then I felt strange that my memory went to a man who was my parishioner in 1993. At that time, I had some differences with some parishioners and I tended to show my “power” in dealing with them. I was even a bit arrogant which did not help to solve the problem, instead it made things worse. This wise man had the courage to talk to me and in our conversation he “challenged” me by saying: “Father probably you did not pray enough”. I was shocked with this kind of comment. I did not say anything but after sometime I realized that my prayer life was really dry. He had shot a bullet into my very “core issue”. And his “challenge” had become good news for me to shape up and be renewed.
At the end of my prayer in Mulgoa, I came to realize that “Good news is about peace, joy, comfort and hope, but also a challenge to bring the best out of oneself”. Jesus’ words today are not a condemnation or curse, instead they challenge us to shape up and to bring the best out of ourselves for the better world.