June 10, 2018
Deacon Bill Hough
In the last month or so we have been reflecting on this person called Jesus. Four weeks ago, at the Ascension we saw Him return to heaven to be our intercessor with the Father.
The next week at Pentecost, He fulfilled His promise to the Apostles to send His Spirit who filled them with the courage to spread the Good News to the entire world.
Then, on Trinity Sunday, we acknowledged Jesus as one of three persons in one God – a God of pure love.
Finally, last week, at the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we affirmed our belief that He is truly present to us today in the Eucharist.
We have seen the big picture.
We have come to know Jesus as our Lord and Redeemer. We come to Mass each week to strengthen us in our belief. Week after week, our liturgy is meant to replenish our spirit so that we can carry out our missionary duty to spread this Good News.
So. At first glance, our readings today are almost comical. In the first reading from Genesis Adam and Eve disobey God and they find out they are naked.
In our Gospel reading, we have Jesus’ family on one side who think He is crazy and, on the other side, we have the scribes who say Christ is possessed by Satan. What is happening here? Why does everyone seen to be turning against Jesus?
Of course, it’s not funny.
Like Adam and Eve and the scribes, we can face a lot of battles in our life, and some of the hardest ones are our spiritual battles – our struggles against the temptation to sin. And we don’t always win these battles.
Of course, we know that God will always forgive us if we are truly sorry. God did punish Adam and Eve but did not abandon His creation. The book of Genesis teaches us that evil will not ultimately win the battle. As Christians we know that God has always had a plan for our salvation.
God fulfilled that plan in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is neither crazy or possessed – just the opposite. Jesus is the one promised by God from the beginning. And, He was promised to everyone, not just His family and the religious leaders of the day.
His message of love and forgiveness for everyone was something new and they somehow thought that this message threatened them and their way of life. Therefore, they retaliated with their accusations. If Jesus is not sane, then their way of life is OK, and they do not have to change.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two warnings.
First, by His parable, Jesus explains to the scribes how their thinking is flawed. If He were in league with Satan, why would He fight against him? Satan is the strong man in the parable but Jesus is stronger yet and Christ has come to defeat the evil one.
To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to reject Jesus and His teaching. By their accusations and rejection, the scribes commit the unforgiveable sin.
Secondly, Jesus explains how to be part of His family. The Gospel writer Mark is not condemning Mary and the rest of His family. He uses them as an example. It is not only words but also actions that make one a Christian. We also read this in the Gospel of Matthew (7:21). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
What does all this mean for us?
First, we come here today to strengthen us for the spiritual battles in each of our lives. As Paul says in the second reading, “Since we have the same spirit of faith…we too believe and therefore we speak.” We come together each weekend to show our acceptance of Jesus and His teaching.
Secondly, we must go out and do the “will of the Father”. This means something different for each of us, but God does have a purpose for all of us. It may be just to act as an example of faith to our family and friends. It could be a ministry in the Church or our community. Who knows where God will lead us?
Let us pray that God will strengthen us in our faith and lead us to do His will.