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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Sam 5:1-7.10): All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said: «Here we are, your bone and your flesh. In days past, when Saul was our king, it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel’». When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, King David made an agreement with them there before the Lord, and they anointed him king of Israel. David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years: seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah.

Then the king and his men set out for Jerusalem against the Jebusites who inhabited the region. David was told, «You cannot enter here: the blind and the lame will drive you away!», which was their way of saying, «David cannot enter here». But David did take the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David. David grew steadily more powerful, for the Lord of hosts was with him.
Responsorial Psalm: 88
R/. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
Once you spoke in a vision, and to your faithful ones you said: «On a champion I have placed a crown; over the people I have set a youth».

«I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, that my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong».

«My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and through my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand upon the sea, his right hand upon the rivers».
Versicle before the Gospel (2Tim 1:10): Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3:22-30): The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness”

Fr. Vicenç GUINOT i Gómez (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today, when we read about this event in the Gospel we are more than a little surprised when “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem” recognize Jesus' compassion for the oppressed and witness the divine miracles with which He blesses them, but then say, “He is possessed by Beelzebul”, and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” (Mk 3:22). It is surprising how even intelligent people permit personal and religious animosity to blind them to the good in others. These teachers were in the presence of Him who personified Goodness. They must have sensed, as did others, the unassuming Heart of Jesus, and they will have understood that they stood before One who was the only true Innocent. Yet, because of their intransigence, they obstinately refused to acknowledge him. Those who claimed to be knowledgeable in the things of God were those who not only did not recognize him, but who also accused him of being satanic.

While others might have retaliated in an angry outburst, or turned away from them and their contemptuous accusation, our Lord does not, for He knows that He must try to convince them of his divinity for the sake of their souls. As Saint John Paul II asserted, our Lord “is an insuperable testimony of patient loving and humble gentleness.” His unlimited condescension brings Him to try to open their closed hearts by reasoning with them by parables, but to no avail. Finally, Jesus in the divine but stern authority of the Godhead warns them that their hard-heartedness is rebellion against the Holy Spirit, and that it will never be forgiven (cf. Mk 3:29). That rebellion remains unforgiving, not because God does not want to forgive, but because, to be forgiven, one must first recognize one's sin, which the rebellious will not do.

The Master knows that His followers also experience that same obstinacy, even when they are acting in good faith for the benefit of unbelievers. All of us will, at times, face the same kind of difficulties and rejection as Jesus did. When we do, let us remember Saint Teresa of Jesus when she was leading her sisters closer to holiness.

Let us not be surprised therefore, if we find in our path these contradictions. They will just be the sign we are following the right way of life. Let us then pray for these people and ask our Lord to give us the necessary patience.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

-“The devil is an evil master, who always mingles false things with true, that the semblance of truth may cover the witness of fraud.” (Saint Bede the Venerable).

-“They wanted this generation and many others to believe that the Devil was a myth, the idea of evil. However, the Devil exists and we have to fight against him. Even if we are not quite convinced of this reality.” (Francis)

-“The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him (...). So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God. But his miracles can also be occasions for ‘offence’; they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 548)