Daily Scriptures Reflection for 1/23/12

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Scripture: Lectionary 317: II Samuel 5:1-7,10. Psalm 89:2.21-22.25-26. Mark 3:22-30:

Satanic power is now the subject of those who are opposed to what Jesus is doing.  Most likely, he is being associated with the Prince of the Demons, the Devil because of his power over the supernatural world. The sad thing about this event is that the scribes (theologians during the time of Jesus). They are sent by the Pharisees to check on what Jesus is doing and are to report back to other religious leaders. It is good to remember what Fr. Brown says about religious leaders in an address he gave at the National Catholic Education Association: “In one reflects on the opposition encountered by Jesus’ demand (metanoien), the Gospels record little rejection of him by sinners but quite the opposite from those who considered themselves right.” (cf.N.C.E.A. keynote address, April 22, 19:81; see also John 9:40-41).

The religious leaders and not his own relatives or neighbors are the ones who say he is possessed by the Devil. Jesus gives three strong reasons how facetious this declaration is and how it is a dangerous one since they are seemingly saying the Holy Spirit in Jesus is Evil personified. Jesus is telling them that he is the strong one who overcomes the invading demands compared to robbers.

The term “Beelzevuv or Beelzebub means the “Lord of the flies” or the Lord of dung!”  The context of the passage is certainly negative and blasphemous on the part of the scribes not willing to see.  They are blind to goodness and are trying to equate Jesus with Evil (the Devil). Jesus shows that Satan would really be against himself in contending against Jesus who is actually driving our demons from those possessed whether it be an exorcism or Jesus’ power over sickness and death.

C.F.D.Moule, an English exegete has some excellent thoughts on this pericope:

“Such jealousy, which, seeing obvious good, deliberately calls this work of God’s Spirit the work of Satan, is unforgiveable. “  He mentions this is probably the hardest saying recorded by the Evangelists about one who sins against the Holy Spirit which is the same Spirit that Jesus is one with.  “The ones who seem to be in greatest danger of it are not the lay people, but religious leaders, with their rivalries and self-regarding convictions.” (Moule, Gospel according to Mark: the Cambridge Bible Commentary, p. 32). Another contemporary scholar Fr.Henry Wansbrough, O.S.B. comments on verses 28-29: “Jesus concludes  with a warning, whose meaning is tolerably clear in Mark’s version, though Mt’s has a difficult contrast between the two sorts of blasphemy. In Mk the Holy Spirit  is surely Jesus’ own spirit or power in which he acts (1:8,10,12, cf.13:11), the spirit whose victorious conflict with the unclean spirits is so crucial in this early part of the gospel. V28: ‘I tell you solemnly’ (Jerusalem Bible)  translates the curious semitic phrase ‘Amen I say to you’, which frequently on Jesus’ lips but nowhere else in literature; it must have been a characteristic expression of his.’Amen’ literally means ‘So be it’, but is normally used to express agreement with or acceptance of someone else’s statement.” (A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, p.962).

Yet, there is hope for those who do sin against the Spirit provided their free will leads them to repentance and a turning back to God.  Amen.

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