I’m typically a good news kind of guy, so this isn’t the kind of passage I’m prone to spend a lot of time reflecting on when it pops up in the daily readings. The imagery is gritty, unpleasant and, well, not too subtle.
One take is that this is a reflection on influence. Jesus uses stirring, concrete examples to shed light on our ability to shape and be shaped. In the unexamined life, this ability can be a dangerous factor.
What are the influences in my life, big and small? Are there some that I need to remove or keep in check? Also, whom am I influencing, and am I intentional about that influence being a positive one?
As a first-time parent, I find that my six-month old son brings these questions into sharp focus. Whether it is email or Words With Friends, sometimes I catch myself looking at my handheld screen rather than his eager, inquisitive face. It might not strike you as a sin, per se, but when I think of the precious moments I have with my boy, I can imagine the passage from Mark being amended to read: “And if your iPhone causes you to ignore your child, throw it out the window.”
While that might be drastic in a time when our smartphones seem as much a part of us as a major appendage, I do think today’s reading challenges us to identify things in our life, subtle as they may be, that cause us for whatever reason to stumble—and to do something about it.
Adam Kronk ’02, ’09 MNA
Program Director, Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership
Mendoza College of Business