Monday of the 3 OT1
Readings: Heb 9:15, 24-28; Mk 3:22-30.
1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 9:15 For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. 24 For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. 25 Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; 26 if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. 27 Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, 28 so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 3:22 The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” 23 Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. 27 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. 28 Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” 30 For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.
I. THEME: Jesus comes to destroy sins and devil’s works.
In the journey for the truth, people need to have an open mind, to carefully think and to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the source of all truth. The most danger is the stubborness in their falsity and the accusation of those who follow the truth.
Today readings center on what Jesus did to destroy sins and to prepare for people to receive salvation from God. In the first reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews compared the old with the new covenant’s effect. According to him, the old covenant can’t take away all human sins because the animal’s blood isn’t strong enough to do it. The new covenant can redeem all human sins because it is ratified with Jesus’ blood, though it was poured only once, and can reconcile people to God. In the Gospel, the scribes accused Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebul and “by the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Jesus pointed out the falsities of these accusations.
1/ Reading I: Jesus destroyed sins by sacrificing of himself.
1.1/ The differences between the two covenants: The author already gave the reasons why the new is more perfected than the old covenant; he now only repeated what he said before: First, Jesus is the new covenant. Secondly, he used his death to redeem the sins which people committed during the old covenant, and to bring to those whom are called by God the right to inherit the eternal inheritance which He promised. Lastly, Jesus didn’t enter the sanctuary made by human hands because that sanctuary is only “a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.”
1.2/ Christ only sacrificed once for all: According to the old covenant, each year the high priest must use the animal blood in the Most Holy to redeem his and people’s sins. According to the new covenant, Christ, the High Priest doesn’t need to sacrifice himself as an offering many times. Otherwise, he must sacrifice many times, from the foundation of the world. “But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.”
“Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.”
2/ Gospel: Jesus is much stronger than Satan.
Today passage of Mark continued the event that Jesus was seized by his relatives because they thought he was out of his mind. We mentioned the reason why Jesus spent all of his time to educate and to heal people to the point that he had no time to eat, is because he loved people so much. The scribes in today report came from Jerusalem, they might hear the report from the local scribes, and they condemned him of two things: “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
2.1/ Jesus answered their two accusations.
(1) Being possessed by Beelzebul: Beelzebul is the Syriac translation of Baalzebub. In the Synoptics, this word was used for Satan, the prince of devils. This title isn’t popular as the title Satan.
To counter them, Jesus used the principle of excluded middle which states: “one thing can’t being and non-being at one moment.” Jesus wanted to tell them that Satan can’t be and not to be the devil, when he said: “How can Satan cast 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, but is coming to an end.” Jesus can’t be identified with Satan because he always opposes him. He comes to destroy them and liberate people from their power.
(2) Using the prince of demons to cast out the demons: In the nation, the highest man is the king, the ruler of people. If one from another country comes to oppress his people, that one must face the king. Jesus gave them a similar example: “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.” Similarly, Satan is the leader of all devils. If Jesus puts his hand on one devil, he must face Satan’s power. Jesus has a stronger power than Satan, he isn’t afraid of Satan himself, let alone his members. Therefore, the scribes’ accusation is wrong.
2.2/ The sin against the Holy Spirit
(1) Which sin is against the Holy Spirit: First of all, the Holy Spirit is the truth; his role is to help people to recognize all falsities. If one is helped by him to recognize the truth many times, but still denies the truth, or worse to consider the falsity is the truth, that one sins against the Holy Spirit. In today passage, Jesus used God’s power to expel an unclean spirit from a man, he also dialogued with people to help them to recognize the falsity of the scribes’ accusation, and the Holy Spirit enlightened them from inside to recognize the truth; but the scribes still denied the truth and ridiculed Jesus as being possessed by unclean spirits, they committed a sin against the Holy Spirit.
(2) Why the sin against the Holy Spirit can’t be forgiven: The condition to be forgiven is people must recognize, repent and confess their sin. The one who sins against the Holy Spirit doesn’t recognize his sin to repent and to confess; that is why his sin can’t be forgiven. This is the problem of many modern people, they lost their consciousness of sins and don’t regard anything as sins. With such an attitude, they sin against the Holy Spirit and can’t be forgiven.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Jesus, as the High Priest, offered a sacrifice which is his body to destroy sins and to redeem sins for people; by this act, people are reconciled with God.
– We need to carefully think before judging others to avoid contradictory and wrong judgment. We need to refrain judgments from jealousy and protecting ourselves.
– We need to open up our mind to welcome truth, especially to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance.