10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
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.
In describing Adam and Eve’s first sin, disobedience, our first reading, taken from Genesis, explains the beginning of evil in the world with its destructive results. The loving relationship joining man to God is destroyed, and the relationship of mutual love between Adam and Eve is weakened. Their default to a “blame game” allowed each to avoid taking personal responsibility for their joint choice. In the second reading, Paul declares to the Corinthians that the many adversities of his missionary work were God’s plan for his spiritual growth; his sufferings, offered with Jesus for the Salvation of the world, would result a glorious reward for him and for all believers who did the same. Today’s Gospel passage reveals how Jesus himself was misunderstood by his own relatives and was criticized, slandered and rejected by the Sanhedrin-led scribes and Pharisees. His sufferings for us give us courage and his offer of healing, strength and forgiveness, so that we can do as he did when we face unfair treatment and criticism in our lives.
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.
1) Today’s Scriptures challenge us to face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism. Very often our friends, families, or childhood companions fail to listen to us and refuse to accept the words of grace, love and encouragement that we offer to them because they are too familiar with us. But we have to face such rejection with prophetic courage because by our Baptism we are called to be prophets like Jesus, sharing his prophetic mission. As prophets, our task is to speak the truth and oppose the evils in our society without condoning or encouraging sinful behavior even in our dear ones.
2) We need to have the courage of our convictions: Modern “liberal-minded” people may find genuine Christians’ belief in and practice of Christ’s ideas and ideals crazy too. Hence, what is needed in a Christian is the courage of his or her convictions based on the authority of Jesus as God and the truth of his doctrines.
3) We need to live as members of God’s family: Let us remember that by Baptism we become the children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus and members of the Heavenly family of the Triune God. Hence, let us observe our obligations of treating others with love and respect and of sharing our love with them in corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We are also His disciples, and so are obliged to be hearers as well as doers of the word of God. Let us keep our souls daily cleansed and filled with the Spirit of God, leaving no space for the evil spirit to enter our souls.
May God Bless us.
FR. S.Vinner HGN