FIRST READING Genesis 3:9-15
After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the Lord God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” The Lord God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
SECOND READING 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1
Bothers and sisters: Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore we speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.
GOSPEL Mark 3:20-35
Jesus came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive 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; that is the end of him. 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 the house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
These are strong readings today! Sin comes into the world by not listening to God but listening to another. Sin creates conflict in the world and it will never end until we choose to follow the Lord Jesus. It is the Lord Jesus who can remake us in the image of God and restore to us the loving relationship with God. The devil is never as powerful as the Lord Jesus and His Spirit. It is Jesus Himself who invites us to follow him and to be His family.
The Book of Genesis, from which is taken the first reading today, sets forth the experience of sin that began our later experiences of sin. Sin is contagious is so many ways. So often we blame sin on others instead of accepting our own responsibilities. The author of this passage from Genesis sees that in the future there will be a battle between sin and the offspring of the woman. This passage is sin as a prediction that salvation will come finally—and through the offspring of the woman.
The second reading comes from the Second Letter to the Corinthians. Today this letter tells us: “the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.” God will place us with Christ Jesus, but must first remake us in His image, which we have lost through sin. This life, for all of us, is a matter of allowing God to remake us. We have to be patient. We might think that we are ready to see God now, but for most of us, there is a recognition that we are not yet so full of love that we can simply come into the presence of the Lord.
Just as in Genesis, so also in this Second Letter to the Corinthians, we see that there is an awareness of the spiritual combat which must take place in our world and in each of us personally so that we are truly ready to “see the Lord as He is” and come to be like Him. For many people today, life is simply about enjoying as much as we can get. For us who follow Christ, life is about becoming as much as possible like Christ so that we reflect the glory of the Father.
The Gospel of Saint Mark today is a delight because it shows the family of Jesus believing that Jesus has truly lost His mind. And it shows us Jesus completely frustrated with what had happened in the temple. Jesus was the House of God to be a house of prayer, not a business enterprise.
We can understand that the family of Jesus does not understand Him. Jesus is so different! Jesus is completely caught up in doing the work of His Father and pays no attention to anything else. This looks like insanity to any normal person. Jesus is not getting enough to eat. He probably is not getting enough sleep. He seems obsessed with healing people. All in all, his family decides that Jesus has lost His mind.
So Jesus irritates and bothers his family. With the Scribes and Pharisees, it is worse. Jesus seems to have an understanding of the Law that is completely different from theirs. They want to challenge Jesus but recognize how popular Jesus is among the ordinary people. They think that Jesus is possessed by the devil but again fear saying anything like that.
For us, all of this is a call to follow the Lord, not matter what our families or other religious people think about us. We are challenged to do the works of God, to recognize that the fight between good and evil is still going on in our own time. We must also recognize that it is God who is at work and so we can trust that we are being remade in the image of God.
Your brother in the Lord,
From: The Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert