10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Gn. 3:9–15

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” The LORD God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”

Second reading: 2 Cor. 4:13–5:1

Brothers and sisters: Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore we speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

Gospel: Mk. 3:20–35

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 forgiven them. 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.”

In other words

by Fr. Dante Salces-Barril, SVD (Rome, Italy)

In a Filipino setting, the serpent in the First Reading (Gn 3:9-15) would be ridiculed and taunted with, “Matapang ka lang kapag wala ang kalaban!” (You’re only brave when the enemy is not present!) Before this—when the serpent tempted Eve—he had bad things to say about God; now, when God shows up mad, the blabby serpent suddenly turns as “silent as the grave.” The First Reading gives us this important lesson: the devil is brave, only when God is absent; the devil is the presence in the absence.

The “story world” of the Gospels was a world bereft of the Presence of God because it was a sinful world; everyone that belonged to that world needed salvation—including the relatives of Jesus, as well as the scribes in the Gospel today. The sinful world was the house of the devil; hence, it was allergic to the Divine Presence. The allegation that Jesus was “out of his mind” (by relatives) and “possessed by Beelzebul” (by the scribes) proved it. The sinful world wanted to cancel Jesus. It wants to remain divided and individualistic; each person is doing what is right in her/his eyes (Jg 17:6).

Our celebration today is called eucharistia (thanksgiving) and missa (mission). We thank God (eucharistia) for the gift of the Church: the brother and sister and mother of Jesus who—by the power of the Holy Spirit—does the will of the Father and manifests the Presence of the Trinity in the world. The “unity in diversity” of the Church counters the devil’s deceptions of “division and individualism.” Our MISSION (missa) is to fill every corner of the world with the Divine Presence, so as not to give the serpent a chance to be brave. When the priest says, “The Mass is ended, go…” we do not cease being a Church; rather, we bring our “church-ness”—brother, sister, mother of Jesus obedient to the will of the Father—into our homes, offices, schools, even in highways and malls. We make God present everywhere; this way, the devil—matapang kapag wala ang kalaban—will cower in fear. 

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