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Monday – Third Week – OT2
Readings: 2 Sam 5:1-7, 10; Mk 3:22-30.
1/ First Reading: RSV 2 Samuel 5:1 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. 2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you that led out and brought in Israel; and the LORD said to you, `You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'” 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5 At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. 6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off” — thinking, “David cannot come in here.” 7 Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. 10 And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.
2/ Gospel: RSV Mark 3:22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast 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, but is coming to an end. 27 But 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. 28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
I. THEME: Jesus comes to destroy sins and the devil’s works.
In the journey to search for the truth, one needs to have an open mind, a sound reason, and obedience to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The dangerous enemies of the truth are one’s stubborn attitude, pride, laziness, and greed. These bad habits might lead people to backbiting, ridiculing, and persecuting the righteous.
Today readings concentrate on the need to recognize and to follow the truth. In the first reading, all the tribes of the Israel recognized David’s good works and came to him at Hebron to ask him to become their king. David’s reign is considered as the most glorious reign of the Israel because he united all the twelve tribes and the its territory expanded farthest. In the Gospel, Jesus came to destroy sins and to prepare people to receive God’s salvation; but out of jealousy, the scribes accused Jesus being possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he cast out the demons. Jesus showed the falseness of these accusations.
1/ Reading I: David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.
1.1/ All Israel tribes crowned David as their king: One of reasons that threatens the unity of a community is pride; this pride can be from an individual, a tribe or a nation. In the Israel’s history, many times the unity was threaten by this reason. For examples, right after king Saul had died, the fighting between the North and the South happened. After Solomon’s reign, the nation is divided in two, the northern kingdom is called Israel and its capital is at Samaria, the southern kingdom is called Judah and its capital is at Jerusalem.
David belonged to the southern tribes and might be insulted by the northern tribes. The fact that God chose David from a tiny town of Judah to be the king of Israel, might cause jealousy from the northern tribes. But in today passage, this jealousy didn’t happen because all the tribes recognized what David has done for them. They came to David at Hebron and made their petition: “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you that led out and brought in Israel; and the Lord said to you, `You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'”
When the Israelites’ elders discarded all reasons that threaten the unity such as: pride, jealousy, and laziness; they recognized that all of them are citizens of one nation, all are from “one bone and flesh.” This unity has an incredible power to develop, to build and to protect their nation. After that, all the elders of Israel came to Hebron, and king David made a covenant with them before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron, he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.”
1.2/ King David took Jerusalem city and established it as the Israel’s capital: Jerusalem is the important center of the Israelites, both politically and religiously. The future temple shall be built here, and Jerusalem shall become the place to unite all nations of the earth.
Jerusalem is on the top of Mt. Zion, about 2500 ft above the sea level, very hard to be conquered because attackers must climb to the top of the mountain. They shall get killed before they can reach to the top. This is the reason when king David and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion. He made it as his city, and David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with 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 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 the falseness. If one is helped by him to recognize the truth many times, but one still denied the truth, or worse to consider the falseness 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 falseness 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:
– We must carefully think before judging others to avoid harsh and clueless criticism. We should also avoid criticism which are from pride and jealousy.
– To build up and to protect unity, we need to discard individualism, pride, selfishness and greed of all forms. Unity has power to transform individuals, communities and society.