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Today’s Reading: Mark 3:20-35

Then he went home; 20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his friends heard it, they went out to seize him, for they said, “He is beside himself.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-elzebul, 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.” 31 And his mother and his brethren came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brethren l are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brethren?” 34 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brethren! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Today’s Commentary:
Beelzebul: A pagan god worshipped at Ekron (see Baalzebub, 2 Kings 1:2-16). The name probably meant “Prince Baal”. The scribes use it as a disdainful title for Satan.
by the prince of demons: It was commonly held that weaker demons could be exorcised by more powerful ones. The scribes wrongfully attribute Jesus’ power to the sorcery of Satan, the most powerful demon of all (Mt 9:34; 10:25; CCC 548).

an eternal sin: The scribes utter blasphemy by attributing to Satan what is actually the work of the Holy Spirit (3:22, 30). Their sin is not unforgivable in principle since no sin can place us beyond the reach of God’s mercy. However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a form of rebellion that is particularly grievous because it blinds people to their own need for forgiveness; in this case, sins are unpardonable when they are not confessed with contrition (CCC 1864).

The sin against the Holy Spirit was prefigured in the OT when the Israelites fashioned the golden calf (Ex 32:1-6). Instead of giving worship and thanks to Yahweh for their deliverance, they honored as their true redeemer an idol of their own making (Ex 32:4).

the will of God: Obedience to the Father is more important than being related to Jesus biologically. Baptized Christians are children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus through the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:12; Rom 8:29; Heb 2:10-11). Membership in this New Covenant family is maintained through a life conforming to God’s will (Mt 7:21). brother . . . sister . . . mother: Christ widens the scope of his spiritual family to include his disciples, not to exclude his Mother or his biological relatives. See note on Mt 12:50.

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