Have you ever pulled an all nighter? For me it was only a handful of times in college (okay, and once or twice since). I would have a major paper due for a class. I would think I was farther along in the writing process the week before, but at about 11:30 p.m. I would discover I still had a long way to go before the paper was done.
For me, 99% of the time all nighters happened because of poor planning or procrastination. However, some of the time life is such that an all nighter is just the thing that needs to happen to get the job done. Sometimes an all nighter is necessary.
Doing what needs to be done is what Jesus is preaching about in the gospel this Sunday. Jesus says if a hand or an eye causes you to sin, remove the eye or the hand. It is better to be maimed than to go to hell with your appendages in tact.
Of course, this seems crazy to us. I think it was meant to seem over the top to whomever heard it in the first place. Jesus is seeking to demonstrate that heaven is worth doing whatever it takes to spend eternity there. Jesus is seeking to show us that hell, separation from God, is so wretched that each of us must do what is necessary to avoid it.
I think many people operate with this guiding question, “What can I get away with and still get into heaven?” This ultimately isn’t helpful. When we think of our faith as a loving relationship, this question does not give anyone the warm fuzzies. What is the least I can do and still be in love? Yuck.
Rather this gospel invites us to think in the affirmative. What am I willing to do to go to heaven? What are you willing to do to love well?
Live It: I am going to take a wild guess and say if there was one appendage that you could cut off in order for you to become more holy it would probably be your cell phone. At least that is me. The challenge this week is a big one. Put your cell phone away for a week. Sure, carry it around for emergencies and calls/texts, but make a commitment for one week, to not search the internet, check out your fav apps, or look at social media. What are you willing to do for love, for heaven?