John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
42 “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.50 Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Mark 9, 38-50
The hand that causes you to stumble
is not at the end of your arm. It’s deeper than that.
What is the hand in you
that reaches for what is not yours? Cut it off.
There is nothing you need to grasp.
What is the eye in you that does not look with love?
Pluck it out. The eyes of love are good enough.
What are the feet in you that that won’t trust,
that lead you away from the path of love?
Cut them off. You don’t need to go there.
Does it sound harsh? Don’t worry,
they’re not part of the real you.
Besides, they’ll grow back.
The Teacher is not asking you to maim yourself.
He is inviting you to name what interferes,
and to take away its power.
He’s leading us out of the unquenchable fire
of our fears, desires and attachments.
Without our grasping, fearful, compulsive parts,
perhaps then we will rely more
on the eyes and hands and feet of Jesus.
This pruning is how we become whole.