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Thursday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

I would like to refer to our first reading from Paul to the Corinthians. He tells us not to lead others into sin. Though we already know that, he wants to warn us that we might be leading someone into sin even when we are doing something that we believe is harmless. He is saying that if someone thinks something is sinful, even if it isn’t, that person commits a sin when he does it. For they are showing their willingness to do something they believe is against the will of God. He points to the eating of food sacrificed to idols to make his point.

Many of the converts had been worshipers of false gods. To those false gods, food offerings were made. The pagan priests and people shared in the eating of those foods as we do the bread and wine that we offer at Mass. Some of the early Christians knowing those false gods were nonexistent were not bothered by going to the temples and getting themselves what I guess was a free meal of the foods sacrificed to those gods. They ate it without any qualms of conscience. For other converts it bothered their consciences. They felt it was a sin. And so, for them to do it, it was a sin.

Paul is telling them that if they think something is a sin, don’t do it. If they don’t think it is a sin and therefore all right for them to do, still don’t do it if there is someone present, they might tempt to go against their conscience.

What does that say about us when we do something acceptable to us, like moderate drinking, in front of someone who believes any drinking at all is a sin, and we influence them to join us for a little taste? To paraphrase Paul, “If drinking causes my brothers or sisters to sin, then I will never drink again, so that I may not be an occasion of sin to them.”

We are to consider the consciences of others when we do anything, or we just might be committing the sin of leading them into sin. Try a diet soda.a

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