Mark 9:42

“And, if anyone puts temptation in the way of one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be far better for him if he had been thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.


trip and fall
quickly look around
did anyone notice
how soon can I forget

trip and fall
whether seen or not
a communal event
embarrassing disorienting

trip and fall
is existential
not ontological
mistakes happen

push and constrain
changes the equation
intentionally trip
carries no excuse

dismiss and fell
a widow or orphan
economically disadvantage
generations

sets a stage
for a correction day
a getting up morning
a mutual grace


Those who can only give a cup of water are the “little ones” here, not generic children.

Again, Waetjen161:

For those who can do nothing more than give a cup of water are the subjects of [Jesus’] concern. They are “the little ones” whose economic resources, social status, and political power are minimal and therefore belong to the underside of agrarian society…. They are the disinherited who, deprived of being, have virtually no identity and little or no sense of self-worth.

This identification of a mercy and justice locus reminds us to look again at those in our life. The Prophets and Prophetesses, Jesus, Benedict and Scholastica, Francis of Assisi and Claire, John Wesley, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Pope Francis all see relations with the poor as critical to the change needed to bring good news out in the open from its place of exile in each and every Empire. When we lose track of those who have only a cup of water, we have lost track of ourselves.

A millstone or an albatross around our neck makes no difference. The fault lies in ourselves, not our stars.

It is at this juncture in our psyche that we can begin to link repentance with resurrection. That which keeps us from recognizing our separation from our neighbor also keeps us from becoming the good news we so desperately desire and find so distant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *