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Tenth Sunday OT B2024

Genesis 3: 9-15; 2 Corinthians 4: 13-5: 1; Mark 3: 20-35

I want to start this homily by referring to the experience of life. All of us have made serious mistakes in our lives. All of us, one day or another, have done something seriously wrong in our lives. But, it takes courage and maturity to take responsibility for whatever we did rather than to simply play a blame game.

For instance, a boy will blame another sibling for something wrong by alleging that it was not his fault. This is especially so if that sibling is younger and more vulnerable. Adults often pass off blame by pointing their finger at someone else. As we have many times heard: it is not my fault; it is his or her fault; it is my husband or my wife’s fault.

When people react that way, it means that they feel shame for the wrong they have done. Their sense of shame can sometimes lead them to withdraw from those they have injured. And it takes real courage to own up the wrong done, to apologize, and make amends for what was wrongly done.

That is exactly what happened with Adam and Eve. They were created innocent, but with free will, and given a wonderful life. They walked with God and they talked with him. They were given only one commandment and the freedom to obey or disobey that commandment.

However, when they encountered Satan, they were inexperienced and vulnerable. When tempted to disobey, they made the wrong choice. They turned against their Creator. They were seduced into thinking that they could be gods themselves. They succumbed to Satan’s temptation. They accepted a lie that in the end ruined their life. As a consequence of their shame for having acted against God’s commandment, they hid. And to avoid responsibility, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the devil!

This chapter of Genesis teaches us a profound truth about sin. When we sin we cannot face each other openly. Neither can we face God. The only necessary thing we need to do, which can save us from shame and blame game, is to accept our responsibility and make amend.

Our Lord Jesus has come to set us free from the power of Satan and the blame game. Our Lord has come to guide us to the whole liberating truth. Unfortunately, today’s Gospel tells us that the Jewish religious leaders could not accept the truth.

Instead, they tried to obscure the reality of our Lord’s life and his mission. They could not accept the revelation of our Lord and his good works. They believed they knew all the truth that God had revealed. So, they pronounced that our Lord was possessed by Satan himself. They insisted that it was the power of Satan that enabled him to exorcise the demons.

However, with his wisdom, our Lord refuted them in a dramatic way. It couldn’t possibly be Satan at work because he, then, would be working against himself. Satan would actually be destroying himself. And this was an impossible contradiction!

Unfortunately what the scribes were doing was a sin that could never be forgiven. They were blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our heart to recognize God’s power at work in our Lord and to look for forgiveness through the Sacrament.  Forgiveness was impossible to the scribes because in their pride, they could never admit that they were wrong!

My friends, we are, indeed, fortunate that we can be forgiven for our mistakes and sins. No sin we commit is beyond forgiveness if we are sorry, repent, take the blame, and change our behavior. Our Lord came to reveal God’s love and forgiveness. He is the offspring of Eve. He is the one who continues to crush the head of Satan with his heel.

Saint Paul reminds us in today’s second reading how blessed we are because of the gift of faith. If we remain faithful to God, we will be raised up just as our Lord was raised from the dead. Yes, we can suffer terrible things during our time in this world. Our physical body, itself, will waste away with old age. Our life here is as fragile and temporary like living in a tent. However, in no way can it be permanent. We are, already, laying the foundation for a permanent and eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven!

My friends, our faith has a price. It allows us to be part of the family of our Lord. What counts here is not blood tie or physical bond, but rather faith. We are our Lord’s mother and brothers and sisters if we do the will of God. “It is the one who does the will of my Father who is my mother, my sister, my brother”. This is a high relationship we all need to have for our lives. Doing the will of God obtains us to be part of the family of our Lord, to share in his own heritage. So let us not miss such a great privilege and opportunity.

[Adapted from the homily of Fr Russel Terra, 10th Ordinary Sunday, 2024]

   
 

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