A Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, June 9, 2024

Post Date: June 7, 2024
Author: Ric Cross

A Reflection on the Readings for the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 9, 2024

Reading 1: Gn 3:9-15
Responsorial Psalm:
Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Reading 2:
2 Cor 4:13—5:1
Gospel:
Mk 3:20-35

Our first reading is the Genesis account of “Original Sin” or “The Fall of Man.” It gives us a metaphorical account of humanity falling out of God’s grace.

Prior to the “Fall,” we see that humanity lived in the happy presence of God in the idyllic environment of “Eden” which, of course, represents heaven. God was like a neighbor who came to stroll in the garden with our ancestors in the “breezy part of the day.” Life was idyllic, no pain or suffering, no fear or anxiety. The only restriction was that they were forbidden the fruit “of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. The moment you eat of it you are surely doomed to die” (Gn 2:16-17). A simple translation of that passage could be: “As long as you obey my commandments, you will continue in this heavenly environment with Me.  But, if you sin, you will no longer co-exist with Me.” Then our human frailty shows forth in the back-and-forth blame game as to who is responsible for this transgression. The serpent, of course, represents Satan and there will always be enmity between humanity and Satan. We will always have to fight his temptations with which he will strike at our heel, but God will give us the power to fight those temptations and strike at his head.

We can only imagine God’s disappointment in humanity, created in His own image and found “very good” in God’s eyes (Gn1:31). God could have abandoned humanity because of sin and given up, or maybe started over again, hoping that next generation would be obedient. But the beautiful message for us is that God’s disappointment doesn’t devolve into bitterness or unforgiveness. God also tells us that humanity will continue to exist, although sinfully, as he promised we would be in a constant struggle with Satan. Our responsorial psalm reminds us “with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” 

Because of human sin, we know that our humanity will eventually succumb to corruption. But because of our faith in God’s mercy and fullness of redemption and our knowledge that God raised Jesus from the dead, we believe, as St. Paul tells us in our second reading, that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn. It is now our turn. “Although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” Even in the darkest times of our lives, we can cry out to God and He will hear us. God is always attentive to our pleading.

Our gospel passage from Mark is a curious one. Jesus’ mother and brothers and sisters think Jesus is “out of his mind” and they want to take him away. His response of “Who are my mother and by brothers?” on the surface may sound like he is denying his mother and family. But then he follows that by saying that those who do the will of his father are his mother and brothers and sisters. In this statement he is not denying his relationship with his earthly family, he is saying there is something more here than biology. He is saying that his family goes beyond genealogy, and applies to all who abide by his commandments; and those who hear his words, including ourselves, are given the opportunity to be a part of that family.

We also have Jesus’ statement that: “All sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But he who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of everlasting sin.” We don’t know what Jesus meant by that statement but we can surmise that, as our sins are forgiven us through our faith in God, and that faith in God is a gift from God given to us through the Holy Spirit, if one refuses to accept that gift of faith he is denying, and therefore blaspheming, the Holy Spirit as the mediator through whom that gift is given to us. The sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin of denying the forgiveness and redemption offered to us by God through the Holy Spirit. But there is always hope, even for a non-believer, because God, out of his love and mercy, calls us by name and waits for us to respond. We are not to be like Adam who hid from God. We are to be like the crowd gathered around Jesus in our gospel and hear him offer us the opportunity to be his mother and brothers and sisters. That is a family that is not divided against itself.

Reference: Graphic image ©LPi

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