Sunday, June 10, 2018
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Mark 3:22
The scribes were guilty of a nasty sin called “calumny.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that someone is guilty of this sin when the person, “…by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.” The Catechism also speaks of a lesser sin called “rash judgment” and states a person is guilty of this, “who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor” (Catechism #2477). It appears quite clear that the scribes were gravely guilty of these two sins.
What’s important to note in these blasphemous words spoken against Jesus is that the scribes would not have spoken such things unless they were fully committed to these sins of calumny and rash judgment. It’s not possible to sin in these ways to a minor degree. These sins require much malice, obstinacy and determination. For that reason, these sins can be very damaging and, for most of us, they can become overwhelming.
If you were the object of such harshness from another, it would most likely make you sit back and be overwhelmed with shock, hurt, anger and confusion. It’s very difficult to remain indifferent to such an attack.
But what did Jesus do? He addressed their condemnation and then pointed out that what they spoke was a “sin against the Holy Spirit.” This form of sin cannot be forgiven because of the obstinacy and refusal to repent on the part of the sinner. The one who sins against the Holy Spirit is so given over to their sin that they are not open to change. This is frightening and results in eternal damnation.
Perhaps one essential lesson we should take from this passage is to be reminded that we must never allow ourselves to become obstinate in our sin. We should never become so entrenched in our sin and, especially, in our own self-righteousness that we are not willing to listen, reason, and humbly change when we realize we were wrong. The scribes were not open to change and this is the worst part of their sin.
Reflect, today, upon whether you, also, struggle with being obstinate and stubborn. Do not fall into this trap since it is a sin against the Holy Spirit. Reflect upon how open you are to change and commit yourself to the path of humility. This is a path you will never regret walking down.
Lord, when I sin, help me to be open to seeing my error. Free me from the tendency of obstinacy and hardness of heart. Help me to always remain humble and make me willing to change. I love You dear Lord. Help me to love all Your people with a sincere and humble heart. Jesus, I trust in You.