Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection June 09, 2024


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R/. With the Lord there is mercy, in him is plentiful redemption.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Now will the ruler of this world be cast out, says the Lord; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Jesus went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “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. 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. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

1.      This Sunday, let us begin our reflection with this simple but crucial question. This was the question asked by God to the first parents. It is not a simple query seeking to know the location. It is a fundamental question that summons us for a profound selk-check.

2.      Adam and Eve committed sin and so were afraid of God’s presence. They felt ashamed to face Him and stand before Him naked and transparent. They covered and hid themselves.

3.      Today the same question is posed to each one of us. Where are you? Where do you stand? What is the state of affairs? What is the quality of life? What is the direction of our life-journey? Such a self-check must ultimately lead to self-renewal, as Paul exhorts us in the second reading that “our inner self is being renewed day by day”.

4.       Now what are the components or requirements of this process? First of all, it calls for “Openness” against all our attempts to cover and hide our unpleasant reality. Often the problem is not so much the lack of goodness but the lack of openness to see it and encourage it.

5.       There is so much blindness and stubbornness toward truth and good. Consequently, good is not only not recognized and appreciated, but it is presented as bad. This is what happened in the case of Jesus. Jesus in all benevolence heals many sick and demon-possessed.

6.       Instead of recognizing God’s power in and through him, the Jewish people accuse him of healing with the help of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. They were so jealous, stubborn, and closed. Consequently, they will not accept and appreciate the good that surrounds them.

7.       Still further, they will make wrong attributions even to the healing acts of Jesus. They wrongly attributed the miracles to Jesus’ coalition with Satan. They accused him, “he casts out demons with the help of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.”

8.       Jesus makes it very clear that good cannot come from evil. Any trace of bad, division, weakness, and spiritual blindness is nothing but the work of the devil. At times, evil may promote itself in the disguise of good. But its ultimate result is harm and destruction. How foolish the people are not to see that all of Jesus’ holiness and goodness, all his power comes and can come only from God!

9.       The devil is the strong man in the gospel. For a while, he is fully armed and has control over all. But once Jesus, the stronger one comes, the evil one has to give way. The power of God assails and overcomes the evil one.

10.  But we need to realize that by ourselves and with our own human strength and capacity, we cannot resist, fight and overcome this strong one. We must know that we are weak, susceptible to fail and fall.  We need to depend on God. Only with His strength can we stand firm against the evil one. Thus we need a total and humble “Surrender” to God.

11.  Having been open and surrendered to God, we need to constantly “Belong” to the one spiritual family of God. It is no longer being conditioned and confined to our natural lineages and relationships. Rather we need to rise above to be the “mother, brothers and sisters” of a higher and larger spiritual family whose sole criterion is “doing the will of God”.

12.  Further, we are called to be “Passionately committed” to the strengthening of the Kingdom of God. This implies in a way, being “mad” for God as Jesus was considered to be, because he was selflessly devoted to his mission even forgetting to eat.

13.  Finally, this also urges us to be “Undivided and United” in working for the one kingdom of God. Jesus clearly indicates that any trace of division and disunity is a work of the devil and is destructive.

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