Scandal of the Weak

Friends in Christ, the sin of scandal, is the leading of others into sin by our actions. We might say, the sin of scandal, is the of giving bad example.
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An older brother shows his younger brother an impure magazine – ‘Hey, look at this,’ he says. His innocent brother, is innocent no more.
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A man tells his neighbor: ‘Sure, I always cut some corners on my taxes.’ His neighbor, who never dreamt of cheating, decides now to do it.
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The wife and mother, who speaks kindly to her husband when he is home, but speaks badly about him when he is gone in front of the children, teaches them how to be two-faced and disloyal.
In many ways, we commit the sin of scandal: leading others into sin by our bad example.
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Now interestingly, we can commit the sin of scandal even by doing a good action. How can this be?
In the 1st reading today, St. Paul warns those in his flock against scandalizing the new, more innocent Christians. In those days, the pagans sacrificed meat to their false gods, and it was supposed, that most meat sold in the markets had been offered to these gods.
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Now when one becomes a Christian, of course one rejects pagan, idol-worship. So the new Christians not only stayed away from anything connected with idol-worship, but they would never eat any meat that had been sacrificed to those gods. They did not want to participate in any way with it.
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Well St. Paul says, since those pagan gods are not even real, you can really eat any meat you want, but he warns against scandalizing the newly baptized.
He is saying that if some of them might be shocked that you would eat meat sacrificed to idols, then, better not to eat any meat in front of them, so as not to shock their innocent consciences.
This is called ‘the scandal of the weak.’ We can give bad example even by doing something good, because it might be misunderstood by the weak.
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A parishioner asked me if it was ok to follow along at Mass on her iphone – you can get download the daily readings and such. I said, ‘well, in itself, this is fine. However, what if a young person sees you on your iphone at Mass, and thinks that you are texting your friends. He might think, ‘Well, it must be ok to do that.’
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So, even though what we are doing is good, we always should be careful, so as not to lead others into sin.

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