Today’s Gospel: Mark 3:20-35 – 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
What a troubling Scripture! Without a clear understanding of its meaning, we can live in fear. None of us want to commit the unforgivable sin!
First things first. You and I cannot commit a sin that God won’t or can’t forgive. He is with us in the depths of our need, in the darkness of our souls. He loves us, and has infinite mercy for us. Lay that fear to rest.
Far more crucial to our spiritual growth is a deep understanding of a merciful God, slow to anger and quick to forgive. That’s the part we long for and, paradoxically, the part we sometimes can’t quite bring ourselves to believe. After all, a wrathful God lurks in the Old Testament and our psyches, ready to smite us or rain down plagues if we aren’t “good enough.” Worse, for those of us who struggle with low self-esteem, a merciful God is too good to be true. We don’t love ourselves, so how can God possibly love us?
Take heart. The mistake the scribes made, which resulted in blaspheming the Holy Spirit (and which requires stunning closed-mindedness and arrogance), was judging Jesus’s work to be authored by the devil. They rejected God’s mercy and forgiveness.
In His abundant wisdom and mercy, Jesus gives us the antidote to this temptation in the final verses of the reading: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
So let us trust in God’s merciful love, persevere in doing works of spiritual and corporal mercy, and toil at the tasks set before us. In humility, let us build the Kingdom of our God. And, as necessary, seek the grace of Reconciliation to counteract any tendency toward arrogance.
How can I hone my skill in recognizing the Holy Spirit where it may not be apparent? How can I retreat from the noise of the world in order to hear God speak clearly to me?
Holy Spirit, help me to do my part in reconciling with others, so that my gift at the altar will be pure and sweet, full of mercy, and pleasing to God.
Copyright 2018 Leslie Lynch
Leslie Lynch lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and a rescued feral-turned-sweetheart cat. She’s written three full-length novels: Hijacked, Unholy Bonds, and Opal’s Jubilee; and two novellas: Christmas Hope and Christmas Grace. She is an occasional contributor to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’s newspaper, The Criterion. Connect with her at www.leslielynch.com and on Facebook at Leslie Lynch Writes.
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