Ps 130: 1-8
2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
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
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.”
Good News Reflection: What is the unforgiveable sin?
God will forgive any repentant sinner — right? No matter what we have done, if we are truly remorseful and desire to be restored to God’s grace, the Sacrament of Confession will secure our place in heaven — right?
If so, then what is the unforgiveable sin named in this Sunday’s Gospel reading? Are we in danger of going to hell because there’s an unforgivable sin?
Let’s look at the context in which Jesus is describing the unforgiveable sin. He’s talking about Satan, the strong man who steals (possesses) souls. Note how easy it is to plunder the strong man’s property: We simply bind (tie) the strong man! (“No one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties him up. Then he can plunder the house.”) Jesus will soon be sending out his disciples to start plundering, i.e., rescuing souls in the name and power of Christ. The sins of the rescued will be forgiven.
Jesus said, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” Demons blaspheme the Holy Spirit by being fully aware of the truth while deliberately lying to us about the goodness of the Holy Spirit, leading us, if they can, away from God. This is unforgiveable!
What about humans who believe demonic lies? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1864) says that anyone who deliberately refuses to repent of sin rejects forgiveness: “Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.”
Most people, I believe, who allow demonic lies to influence them simply don’t realize that the truth is better. As this Sunday’s first reading tells us, Adam and Eve sinned because Satan deceived them. Every sinner has been deceived. You and I sin when we believe a deception, and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is with us to help us overcome every lie. The truth sets us free.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Looking back over your spiritual growth through the years, when did you overcome deceptions about God? What sin are you struggling with today? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a new understanding about it.
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Name sins that you see commonly embraced in our world today. What truths about God do people fail to understand in each type of sin? If they were to open themselves up to these truths, how would it would change their minds and their behaviors? How can we evangelize them about the truth?
Lord Jesus Christ: Today I give up before You everything that drives me away from Your paths and chains me to evil and sin. Take control of my life. Purify me and give me the strength I need to follow You with strong decision and courage. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica