Jesus warns us to beware of leading others astray, especially the little ones. ‘Little ones’ here is not confined to children but those who may be weak in the faith, people struggling to respond to God and failing often or just simply those regarded as weak physically, spiritually or morally.
Jesus is very harsh on those who might scandalise them. There are two ways of doing this. First, obviously scandalising others by bad example. Living in a way which really leads others to do the same or weaken their attempts to live good lives. Any group can do this, be they non-believers or believers including priests and religious. Secondly, we can be obstacles to others by making demands on them that even God wouldn’t make. Do we place too many obstacles in the way of people receiving Holy Communion? Is the role of women in the Church too limited? We can give scandal when we are over demanding and judgemental of those who still struggle to reach a lower level of commitment even if it is the best they can do. The effect is often to make such people lose heart and give up.
‘Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see the many ways you work through different peoples and religious groups. Wherever there is love and goodness surely your Spirit is at work. Amen’.