Today’s readings remind us that if circumstances make us choose between God’s will and our family, as painful as it may be, we have to choose God’s will.
In today’s First Reading Adam is busted. He put more trust in Eve than in God and Fell. Sacred Scripture does not say Eve duped Adam. She offered him the forbidden fruit and he let doubt about the Lord enter into his heart and sinned. When Adam says it was the woman “whom you put here with me” it’s almost as if he’s accusing the Lord himself of putting him into this situation. Eve tries to pin all the blame on the serpent, but she is an adult, responsible for her own actions. Sin may appear at times as the way to salvage or consolidate a relationship, but it always drives us wedge between us and between us and God. Today’s First Reading shows us that those cracks may not appear at first, but they’re not long in coming.
In today’s Second Reading Paul reminds us God’s will is not that we should choose between him and our family, but that our family should be united in faith. The Lord wants us to do his will because it is good and because it will be a source of abundant blessings for all people of good will. As believers we’re called to share one spirit of faith in Our Lord and in his promise of eternal life. Our Lord acts for our benefit, not against it, and he wants his grace to fill us so much that it “spills out” into grace for more and more people. When we’re faced with the difficulties, frailties, and uncertainty of a Fallen world we must not lose our trust in the Lord and in his promises. Ultimately that spirit of faith is our openness and collaboration with the Holy Spirit.
In today’s Gospel Our Lord encourages us to focus on doing his Father’s will as something good. If we question the motives of God’s actions—Father, Son, or Holy Spirit—trouble awaits. Today’s Gospel invites us to imagine what was going through the mind of Our Lord’s family when news began to reach them of everything happening in his ministry: healings, people mobbing him from all over Palestine, non-stop work that didn’t even leave him time to eat, and an escape by boat as the only way to keep the crowds from flocking around him and following him constantly.
Today’s Gospel says simply that he “came home”; it’s not clear whether he’d come to his house or not, but the mention of the family’s reaction might infer it, although the Gospel only says they heard of what he was doing. The reaction of Our Lord’s family serves to underscore the apparent insanity of the situation, so much that they’re wondering whether Jesus himself is insane. The reaction on the part of the people may seem disproportionate, but it also shows how lost and in need of truth and healing humanity was since the Fall. Since Adam and Eve, all the way to the coming of Our Lord, all generations were lost, and now, in the crazy world that resulted, Our Lord has come to find the lost.
Today’s Gospel is also a strong admonition regarding blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. An unforgivable sin should give pause to anyone, but in this case Saint Mark explains what the Lord is condemning: calling the Holy Spirit an “unclean spirit.” Jesus works his miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, but the scribes claim the demon Beelzebub is powering his works. A clearer blasphemy is not possible. If we see God’s will as bad, we see him as bad, and that’s not good. That is a sin, just like Adam and Eve at the start of salvation history, and we must reconcile with God and reconcile with his will for us and for all those we love.
Don’t shift the blame to Our Lord this week for anything in your life that is not going as you’d like. Adam and Eve tried to shift the blame for their faults to others. If we accept the blame for what we’ve done the path to reconciliation and peace is opened. The worst tactic is pinning the blame on Our Lord for our sins or the sins of others that have affected us. Our Lord detests sin as much as we do and more. Let’s put the blame where blame is due: on sin.
Readings: Genesis 3:9–15; Psalm 130:1–8; 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1; Mark 3:20–35.