Woe to the Tempter

“Woe to the Tempter”
Luke 17:1 “in a snailshell”
Monday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
©️2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

Luke 17:1-2 (NABRE)

And Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach said to his talmidim, It is impossible for the nisayon (temptation) to sin not to come, but oy through whom it comes.

It is better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he had been thrown into the sea than that he should cause a michshol for these little ones.

Luke 17:1-2 (Orthodox Jewish Bible)

Temptations of Love

Human persons, created to know and love God with the totality of their beings, easily become infatuated with inferior objects of desire. Even in the Edenic state of innocence, the forbidden fruit in the midst of the garden beguiled Eve’s senses and spiritual faculties. The woman “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6, ESV). The magnetic pull of the tempter’s words on nascent human desire lured the first couple into disobedience. 

Yet love, not sin, drives the story of the Fall. For genuine love requires the freedom to reject the Lover. The bride (humankind) proves her love for God by choosing him over all other “gods” (Exodus 20:2-6). Love is a choice.

Snares and Forks in the Road

Thus, in a world created to return love for Love, it is “impossible” (anendekton) for “snares” (skandala) not to come. The Greek word skandalon, usually translated as “temptation,” “offense,” or “stumbling block,” means “the trigger of a trap” (see HELPS Word-studies). Human desire in a state of vacillation necessarily faces a fork in the road. Sin is off-roading, or “missing the mark” (the literal meaning of “sin” in Hebrew and Greek).

Woe to the Tempter

Forks in the road—objects of desire in competition with God—belong to the infrastructure of this probationary life. But “woe” (ouai, “an expression of grief or denunciation”) to those who deliberately prowl about seeking the ruin of souls. In the severest words of condemnation, Jesus declares that it is better for a tempter to drown in the sea with a millstone around his neck than for him to lead little ones astray. Such baiters and seducers collude with the Evil One, against whom the Church prays daily to St. Michael the Archangel.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, 
O Prince of the Heavenly hosts, by the power of God, 
cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, 
who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. 

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:13
The Lord’s Prayer

’Tis impossible for snares not to spring,
But woe to those who prowl about luring.

Related to the Gospel of the Day:

Seventy-Seven Times Forgive
We Are Our Neighbors’ Keepers

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