18 October 2018

'Whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.' Sunday Reflections, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Call of the Sons of Zebedee, Marco Basaiti [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 10:35-45 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
Christ in the Carpenter's Shop, Georges de la Tour [Web Gallery of Art]
In May 2008 I unexpectedly received an email from Michael in Australia whom I hadn't met or heard from since the summer of 1967 when we were working together on a building (construction) site in Dublin. I had just been ordained subdeacon and was to be ordained priest in December of that year. The general foreman on the site was my father.

In a later email Michael said, Your father was a great role model for me to try and emulate. I remember the first job that I met your father on, as he was the general foreman. It was the first job for me as a journeyman carpenter and it was a pleasant experience coming to work with such a pleasant gentleman giving the instructions.

My father a week before his sudden death on 11 August 1987
I wasn't at all surprised at Michael's words as I had heard others who had worked with my father, John, say similar things. And when I worked under him myself that summer I could see what I had known before: he led by example. He never swore, never shouted at anyone and was most helpful to young workers and to young architects. He sometimes would laugh at home at the lack of experience of the latter in practical matter. But he also knew that you can only learn through experience - and with the help of mentors. And he was a real mentor to the same young architects. 
Many times before I took an important examination or was about to do something for the first time Dad would say, The experience will be good for you. There was never the hint of a demanding expectation. And I have found his words to have been true.
But I often heard him speak with gratitude, respect and affection of general foremen under whom he had worked as an apprentice and as a young carpenter. One was Mr Grace, whom I never met. Two of his sons became Capuchin priests and two of his daughters religious sisters. Another was Mr Boyle, whom I did know. He and his wife in their old age were a handsome couple.
Dad was the same at home as he was on the construction site. He never raised his voice to his two sons or to our mother. He was courteous with everyone he met and was just himself in every situation.
His authority came from within. He was responsible and loving in everything he did. Every morning, after returning from a very early Mass, he prepared my mother's breakfast before heading for work. He started work on time and ended on time. But he wasn't a slave to the clock.
With my parents John and Mary and my brother Paddy after my ordination in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral Dublin, 20 December 1967
This Sunday is observed by the Church as Mission Sunday: Christian Families are Missionary Families. I don't think that my parents, or any of their contemporaries in Ireland, saw themselves as missionaries. But they passed on the faith without being aware of it. When I was a child it was my father who took me to Sunday Mass. My mother went to a later Mass as she had to take care of my brother when he was still very young. My Dad used to take me to Solemn High Masses on days such as Easter Monday and Whit (Pentecost) Monday in the churches of the Dominicans and the Capuchins in Dublin. I didn't appreciate this at the time.
My mother used to take my brother and me to visit seven churches on the afternoon of Holy Thursday before the changes in Holy Week ceremonies in 1955 when they were moved from the morning to the afternoon/evening. There was solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in each church or chapel we visited. Again, I didn't appreciate this at the time.
When I went to the Philippines in 1971 I was astonished to discover that this same practice, known there as Visita Iglesia, was very much alive in the larger cities, on the night of Holy Thursday, with many young people walking from one church to the next. Again, I thanked God for what my mother had invited me to do every Holy Thursday up to 1954 when I very reluctantly joined her.
Among the gifts I received from God through my parents was the living out of the words in today's gospel, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant. They served each other and they served us their two sons. They did this day in and day out, whatever their feelings might have been at any particular moment.
I can see clearly now that they were missionaries in a very real sense, living out the promises they made when my brother and I were baptised. (Our Dad wasn't present at my brother's baptism because he was attending his mother's funeral that same day. In those days baptisms took place within a few days of birth, a commendable practice.)

In the current rite of the baptism of a child the priest asks the parents: You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

In responding with Yes, we do, parents undertake to be missionaries to their own children. I thank God for the Yes of my parents.

Bishop Edward Galvin, Columban Co-founder, baptising an infant in China
[I have had problems formatting this post.]

11 October 2018

'Let only your will be done in me . . .' Sunday Reflections, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

This Sunday's Gospel in Filipino Sign Language

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 10:17-30 [or Mk 10:17-27] (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’  Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.”’ He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
[Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.]

This incident is also recounted in the gospels of St Matthew and St Luke. It is Matthew who tells us that the man who approached Jesus was young. Luke describes him as a ruler or aristocrat, depending on the translation. But it is only Mark who writes, Jesus, looking at him, loved him . . .

John Profumo (1915 - 2006) [Wikipedia]
During my second summer vacation after entering the seminary, the summer of 1963, the biggest story in Britain and Ireland was that of a senior member of the Conservative Party and of the British government, John Profumo. He had served with distinction in the British army in World War II, reaching the rank of Brigadier (General). He was independently wealthy. He became involved with a prostitute, Christine Keeler, who also had relations with  the senior Soviet naval attaché in London. Profumo denied in parliament that he had an improper relationship with Keeler. This was later shown to be untrue. He was later forced to resign for having lied to parliament. Before resigning from all his positions he confessed to his wife, Valerie Hobson, and she stood by him.

John Profumo disappeared from public life and spent many years as a volunteer washing dishes and cleaning toilets in a place called Toynbee Hall, a charity in the East End of London. I do not know anything about the faith of John Profumo, whose paternal ancestors were Italian aristocrats. He had the inherited title 'Fifth Baron Profumo', though he didn't use it. But Lord Longford (1905 - 2001), a Labour politician and social reform campaigner whose Catholic faith - he was a convert from Anglicanism - was the bedrock of everything he did, was quoted as saying that he, felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I've known in my lifetime'.

Unlike the man in the gospel, John Profumo had sinned. He lost his reputation but regained it as years later people came to know what he had been doing.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858 - 1916) [Wikipedia]

Fr Charles de Foucauld, was assassinated in the Sahara on 1 December 1916 when John Profumo was almost two. Like Profumo, he was born into wealth. Unlike the man in the gospel, he became a notorious playboy and was thrown out of the French army because of his behaviour. He went through a conversion experience at 28 and, again unlike the man in today's gospel, gave up everything. His subsequent journey in the Catholic faith led him to the priesthood and to the Sahara to live the life of Nazareth as he understood it.

Brother Charles, as he was known, died alone. He had drawn up a rule for a religious congregation to live the life of Nazareth in the desert. I once read that one person joined him for a short while. But in the 1920s his life and writings led to the founding of two religious congregations, the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus, both of which have communities in the Philippines. The Little Sisters have a community in Northern Ireland. There are a number of other congregations that have adapted the rule that Brother Charles wrote.

Little Sister Goneswary Subramaniam LSJ [Misyon]

The Little Brothers and the Little Sisters live among the poor, support themselves by taking manual jobs. The January-February 2005 issue of Misyon, the Columban magazine in the Philippines of which I was then editor, carried an article, Working Sisters, in which Little Sister Goneswary Subramaniam LSJ from Sri Lanka writes about her job sewing in a garment factory in Quezon City, Metro Manila, and Little Sister Annarita Zamboni LSJ from Italy about working as a lavandera, a laundry woman. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is at the heart of the life of each community of the Little Brothers, some of whom are priests, and of the Little Sisters and neighbours are invited to join.

Blessed Charles was a diocesan priest, though definitely not a conventional one. But a more conventional diocesan priest, played a central role in his conversion, Fr Henri Huvelin.

Fr Henri Huvelin [Wikipedia]

Among the groups inspired by Blessed Charles is the Jesus Caritas Fraternity of Priests, a movement that adapts his spirituality to the lives of pastoral priests, mainly diocesan, though not exclusively. [That website has links to other branches of the De Foucauld family, including the Little Brothers and the Little Sisters.]

Peter, troubled by the words of Jesus, said, Look, we have left everything and followed you. Jesus replied, Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,  who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

Charles de Foucauld experienced the joy of doing God's will, with persecutions in his violent death, but the houses and brothers and sisters . . . didn't come till some years after his death. And when Cardinal José Saraiva Martins beatified Brother Charles in Rome on 13 November 2005 the Church confirmed that he had indeed attained eternal life from the moment of his death and that he was a model of holiness who could guide us as we try to follow Jesus.

Blessed Charles saw clearly what the young man in the gospel, who didn't sin but had no idea of the riches he was spurning, didn't see - that Jesus was looking upon him and loved him

1959 French stamp in honour of Charles de Foucauld [Wikipedia]

Prayer of Abandonment of Blessed Charles de Foucauld

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

This prayer is recited in the Charles de Foucauld video above beginning at 3:38. Below is a video setting of the prayer.

02 October 2018

'Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.' Sunday Reflections, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Pope Benedict with young friends [See Mark 12:14]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 10:2-16 [or Mk 10:2-12] (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’
[People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.]
Pope Benedict answers questions of children

I will be observing this Sunday this year in Esztergom, Hungary, at the European Council meeting of Worldwide Marriage Encounter with which I have been involved since 1981, initially in Canada and then from 1984 until last year in the Philippines and now in Ireland. The most important reality that I have come to see very clearly through Marriage Encounter is that the relationship between husband and wife in the Sacrament of Matrimony is the foundation of the Christian family.

About thirteen years ago we in Worldwide Marriage Encounter in Bacolod City, Philippines, held a family day. One of the last activities was for the pre-teen children. They were asked to share what they loved most about their parents. One boy, aged about ten or eleven, told us that what he loved most about his parents was that they were always together.

He didn't mean, of course, that they were tied to each other 24/7. But he saw that for his father and mother the most important reality in their lives was to be husband and wife. And he felt drawn into the love that they had for each other. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. In today's gospel Jesus is quoting from the First Reading, Genesis 2:18-24.

In my closing remarks at the family day I picked up on what the boy had said and pointed out that he had articulated that the foundation of the family is the relationship between husband and wife. If that relationship is sound the other relationships in the family will normally be sound too. Children won't feel left out but rather drawn into the love their parents have for each other, the very love that brought them into life in the first place. In God's plan, it is as husband and wife that a man and a woman are called to become father and mother. It is God's plan that their children be drawn into the love they have for one another. This is the foundation of the family. And perhaps this can give us some idea of the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit draw us into the circle of their life, having given us life through our parents.

A young journalist, a single man, happened to be present at our family day that afternoon and approached me afterwards. He had never heard marriage being described that way before and really wanted to know more. It was truly an experience of hearing the Good News for him.

It is God who joins together a man and a woman when they exchange their marriage vows. In the Sacrament of Matrimony they are giving Jesus Christ himself to each other. This is far more than a 'blessing by the priest', as so many misunderstand the Sacrament. It is the bride and groom who confer the sacrament on each other, who give Jesus himself to each other. This is such a profound and sacred union, as Jesus teaches us so clearly today: Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Today's gospel is very clear on that. Jesus spells out what the sin of adultery is: Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

So often in visiting Catholic schools in the Philippines I was struck by the fact that so many students in their teens knew by heart the words that the bride and groom exchange: For better, for worse; for richer . . . These words, etched into their hearts, express their deep-down sense of the words of Jesus in the gospel today, 'God made them male and female' . . . so they are no longer two but one flesh. They also express their dreams and aspirations for their own future, dreams and aspirations that have been placed in their hearts by God himself. It is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

Prayer Before a Meal, Adriaen van Ostaede [Web Gallery of Art]


Worldwide Marriage Encounter

Worldwide Marriage Encounter is the largest pro-marriage organization in the world and promotes Weekend experiences for couples who want to make their good marriage even better.

North America      Ireland      Philippines


Retrouvaille is the name of a programme designed to help heal and renew marriages. The French word Retrouvaille, simply means 'rediscovery'. The programme offers the chance to rediscover yourself, your spouse, and a loving relationship in your marriage.


This website gives links to information about Retrouvaille weekends in different European countries, in the USA and in the Philippines.


Enrico and Chiara: 
loving spouses and parents, witnesses to joy

Enrico and Chiara Corbella

I am grateful to Worldwide Marriage Encounter Philippines for this inspiring story. It was written by  Marie Meaney and appeared originally in Crisis Magazine.

In worldly terms, Chiara Corbella’s life (1984 - 2012) was not a success story: two children dying shortly after birth, herself ravaged by an aggressive cancer, which killed her at the young age of 28, leaving a beloved husband and a small son behind. This is not the kind of material dreams are made of. Yet when one listens to the testimonies of her friends, husband, and spiritual director, and hears more about her story and looks at her radiating, beautiful face on photographs and in video clips, one can’t help but feel that hers was an extraordinary life. Each saint has a special charisma, a particular theme, some facet of God, which he reflects, due to his particular character, call and story. Hers, I’d say, is to be a witness to joy in the face of great adversity, the kind which makes the heart overflow despite the sorrow over loss and death.

The full article on Enrico and Chiara and their children is here.  Google 'Chiara Corbello' or 'Chiara Corbello Petrillo' to discover much more about God's love for all of us through couples like Enrico and Chiara.

The cause for the beatification of Chiara was opened last July in the Diocese of Rome.

27 September 2018

'Whoever is not against us is for us.' Sunday Reflections, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

St John the Evangelist, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. 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.
‘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. 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.
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.
And 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, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

In August 1982, after a year’s study in Toronto and before three months of Clinical Pastoral Education in Minneapolis, I supplied in a number of parishes for short periods in the Diocese of Boise, which covers the whole of the state of Idaho in the western USA. One of my purposes for this was to visit the Abbey of Our Lady of the HolyTrinity, Huntsville, Idaho, where I had spent ten days or so in August 1970. There I had met some of the monks who were to be part of the team that would open the first Trappist foundation in the Philippines, in Guimaras island, now the Abbey of Our Lady of the Philippines

I spent a week in one parish where the parish priest was from India, there were  reservations of two different Native American tribes, many Spanish-speaking immigrants working on farms in the area and a majority of the people in the town proper of the Mormon faith. The local newspaper carried photos of young Mormons going on mission to other countries.
Just after lunch one day the doorbell rang. A young woman asked me to go to the hospital where an old woman, a Catholic and a relative of hers, had been in a coma for a long time, and was dying. I immediately went to the hospital and, to my surprise, the patient was fully awake and participated joyfully in the Last Sacraments, including viaticum, as I had brought the Blessed Sacrament with me. I learned later that she died about twenty minutes after I left.

The young woman who had asked me to go to the hospital was a Mormon.

When I was a child we lived in a street of terraced houses in Dublin where no one had a telephone. One time one of our neighbours, Jem Norris, got gravely ill in the middle of the night. Charlie Brooks who lived across the road went for the priest, whose house was about a kilometre away.

Charlie was a Protestant.

I have posted in Sunday Reflections before about a Mass in Belsen concentration camp, Germany, shortly after it was liberated in 1945. The account, published in 2004 in The Daily Telegraph (London) is by James Molyneaux, then a young officer in the British Army and later leader of the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland and now a member of the House of Lords. He wrote:

The most moving experience came on the second morning as I was walking from what had been the luxury SS barracks which our troops had transformed into a hospital. My attention was drawn to two packing cases covered by a worn red curtain. A young Polish priest was clinging to this makeshift altar with one hand, while celebrating Mass. Between his feet lay the body of another priest who probably died during the night. No one had had the energy to move the body.

I had no difficulty in following the old Latin Mass, having been educated at St James's Roman Catholic School in County Antrim, and, although an Anglican, I had gained a working knowledge of all the rituals. Still supporting himself against the altar, the young priest did his best to distribute the consecrated elements (editor's note: the Body of Christ). Some recipients were able to stumble over the rough, scrubby heathland. Others crawled forward to receive the tokens (editor's note: to receive the Body of Christ) and then crawled back to share them with others unable to move. Some almost certainly passed on to another - probably better - world before sunset. Whatever one's race or religion one can only be uplifted and impressed by that truly remarkable proof of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

When I first read this article I was deeply moved in a number of ways. I was surprised to discover that the author had gone to a Catholic school in a community where, at least since the latter 1800s, there has been a deep divide between Catholics and Protestants, for historical reasons that are not entirely theological. But here was an Anglican from that background giving a powerful testimony to the Mass as the Holy Sacrifice. And he noticed how those who were barely able to crawl shared the Body of Christ with those who couldn't move at all.
I find in the three stories above an illustration of the response of Jesus to the complaint of St John, Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us. Jesus says, For he that is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward

St John's complaint reflects that of Joshua to Moses in the First Reading. the response of Jesus reflects that of Moses: Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! (Numbers 11:29).

memorial stone erected near the ramps where prisoners for Belsen were unloaded from goods trains
James Molyneaux's article also illustrates the reality of hell that Jesus speaks about today. He writes:
On arrival at Tactical Headquarters, we had been briefed on the discovery of the Belsen prison camp nearby. In company with our RAF medical unit and the two 2nd Army Field hospitals, we wasted no time. Briefed though we were, the shock excelled all the horrors of the battles of the 12 months since Normandy.
As we passed through the camp gates, the Royal Military Police requested us to drive very slowly to avoid the numerous disoriented prisoners. We were handed adhesive tape to put over the vehicle horns in order to prevent them going off accidentally, lest the shock would cause still more deaths. [This little detail is surely telling.]
The British liberators were staggered and shocked by the inhuman behaviour of some of the former guards, who continued to abuse and torment prisoners nearing death when they assumed we were looking the other way. I confess that on such occasions I may have breached the Geneva Convention to prevent further ill treatment of helpless victims. Their behaviour after we had arrived contradicted the excuse that the SS had forced them to carry out orders. Our new orders to them were "Stop acting like savages".
The 'Thousand Year Reich' of Hitler was in ruins after twelve years, and millions dead all over the world. These deaths, like countless deaths since, were caused by persons who chose evil over good. Each choice we make for sin is not at the level of choosing the evil of Belsen but it moves us towards that. Other dictators have tried their hand at their own version of Hitler's distorted vision and people have gone along with them.
Each of us likes to have power. We may not be conscious of this and in many instances there's no sin at all. I remember once  seeing in a Catholic magazine a cartoon  of people assembled for Mass where you were asked to 'spot the errors'. One was the proverbial 'little old lady' kneeling in the middle of a pew instead of blocking it at one end. There are times, especially as I grow older, when I can see the 'little old lady' in myself, trying to subtly ensure that things are done my way. Indeed, in the parish in Idaho where that kind young Mormon woman asked me to go to the dying elderly woman, the housekeeper asked me what time I'd like to have dinner at each day. I told her - but she always served it thirty minutes earlier.
But if I am a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a boss, a priest who doesn't listen to the other, who rules my little domain with a heavy hand, the words of Jesus are directed at me. 
What is the 'hand', the 'foot', the 'eye' that causes me to sin, especially in the use of power?
Antiphona ad Communionem
Communion antiphon Cf Pas 118[119]:49-50
Memento etiam verbi tui servo tuo, Domine,
Remember your word to your servant, O Lord,
in quo mihi spem dedisti,
in which you have given me hope.
haec me consolata est in humilitate mea,
This is my comfort when I am brought low,
quia eloquium tuum vivificavit me.
that your promise gives me life.
The setting by contemporary Japanese composer Nobuaki Izawa includes the last line above that is not in the Missal.