Hyperbole – What Did He Say?

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com

November 20, 2022

February 24, 2022
Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

One of the great things about growing up in East Texas during the 1960s and early 1970s was to hear how creative my grandmother on my mom’s side could be on how she was going to punish me.

It might be she was going to “pinch my head off.” Another was, “I will slap all the taste out of your mouth” or even “I will slap you clean into next week”.

She didn’t mean she was going to do those things but rather she wanted to emphasize the message.

Today, Jesus is using what my grandmother used – hyperbole.

Last Thursday, Peter felt like he could “manage” the Son of God. Today, Jesus is using hyperbole to say we don’t need to “manage” God. We aren’t needed to tell God what needs to happen and yet are we not guilty of that very thing?

And it isn’t just about big things we fall short on but even the smallest – a cup of water for a brother or sister. We are to avoid anything that could keep us from God.

If there is something that causes us to not be what we should be – get rid of it. Cut it out of your life.

But our lives should not be bland. We don’t hide from life to be good. We take our goodness (salt) and keep our lives “spicy” by living it – not putting it under a bushel basket.

Lenten season is around the corner. It is a time for us to reflect on what we need to cut off or pluck out. Take it to God and apologize for our shortcomings. Let God revel in our goodness as he did with Job.

I hope you find your goodness and let it shine this year and each year after. Trusting God to do what God does.

And, you don’t even need to tell him what to do.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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