Monday of the 3rd Week of the Year

Mk 3:22-30

Jesus and Beelzebul

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

“Aikido” is a martial art, like karate. It is a unique way of self-defense because it uses the assailant’s aggression against himself.

The principle is reflected in t he way Christ defended himself against the scribes’ accusation against. Him. The scribes accused Jesus of driving out demons by their power. Jesus immediately saw the flaw in the logic and said, “How can Satan drive out Satan?”

It is clear in this passage and the other encounters with his opponents how quick Jesus saw through other people. How quick he saw through the masks and “hidden agenda” of people who were afraid to see and face the truth. Here was a transparent man who saw the motives of hard-headed and hard-hearted people. Jesus wishes that we be genuinely transparent in what we are and what we do.

But a more important message confronts us: a house divided against itself cannot stand. “House” here could mean family, organization, community, group, tribe, country, friendship, class party and many more. “That all maybe one,” is the prayer of Jesus.. as long as we Christians remain divided, we still have a long way to go in realizing God’s kingdom.

One mark of a true Christian is his/her passion for unity wherever he/she is. Do I have this passion? (Fr. A Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Protestants sometimes ask why we, Catholics have to celebrate Christ’s dying on the cross daily. They mean of course the sacrifice of Jesus in the Holy Mass. If the Mass is Jesus being offered on the cross, why ‘kill’ Christ everyday? To back this up they quote the first reading today (Heb 9:15, 24-28): “He had not to offer Himself many times…. Christ sacrifice Himself once….” In the next chapter of the reading the argument is summed up, “Christ has offered for all times a single sacrifice for sins…”

What is our answer to this question? Is it true that we repeat Jesus’ execution daily as we celebrate the Mass? Do we not believe in “one sacrifice for all times?”

Of course we do. We believe in the inspired word of the letter to the Hebrews. We believe that Jesus’ death happened once and it is good for all times. But why do we celebrate the sacrifice in the daily Mass? The answer is we do not repeat nor multiply the dying of Jesus in the Mass; rather, this one offering is MADE PRESENT EVERYDAY, so that we, who are absent when Jesus offered Himself on the cross, could participate in this one sacrifice.

Daily we celebrate Jesus’ ultimate surrender to the Father in the form of meal, the Holy Mass. Daily we are given the opportunity to dine with Jesus, experience his love and eat His Body, so that we could remain friends, and be transformed into living signs of God’s love to the world and His people. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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I often hear people say, “Nasapian siya ng masamang espiritu,” (He is possessed by a bad spirit). “Magdasal tayo para mawala and demonyo sa ating bahay, “ Let us pray in order to drive the demon away from our house). “Napanaginipan ko si Satanas kagabi,” (I dreamt of Satan last night).

The teachers of the Law in today’s gospel were confronted with the same dilemma: where does the power of Jesus to drive out demons come from? Jesus did not use force to rebuke them, but a parable instead to make them think and reflect. He wants them to know the truth which goes beyond their prejudices and arrogance, personal interests and biases. This spiritual process is commonly called the “discernment of the Spirit.” This method of finding the “real Spirit” entails time, prayer and silence. Sometimes it even a painful process of being confronted with one’s weaknesses and limitations. It is not easy. But it is liberating especially in every decision making process. People are advised not to decide when they are in doubt. They have to undergo the purifying process of listening to the promptings of the Spirit. Those who are able to decide with and in the Spirit will never regret the consequences of their decision. Because what is important is not the decision itself but the process whereby one arrives at a particular decision. And that is discernment.

Jesus tried to convince the teachers of the Law that the power he has comes from the Holy Spirit, a power which does not divide but unites. For the message of Jesus is not division but union, not blasphemy but charity, not war but peace. Where unity, charity and peace are, God is also present. (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, Jr SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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Some people have been accused as “drug lords,” or “jueteng lords”. A former jueteng lord was even asked by the government to lead the campaign against jueteng because he was supposed to know the “ins and outs” of this illegal gambling game.

In the time of Jesus, the most notorious leader of the underworld was “the demon lord,” or as the gospel writer calls, “the prince of the demons.” He had even an alias, “Beelzebul” which could either mean, “Lord of the Flies” or more exactly, “Master Baal.” Baal was Yahweh’s nemesis in the Old Testament.

The prince of demons, being the master, directed the activities of the demons under him. Demons were thought to cause sicknesses and deaths of children. In the cultural world of Jesus, there were more demons or bad spirits than human beings.

One such demon was Lilith known for attacking and killing children especially at night. To ward off this terrible demon, people had to wear amulets, inscribed incantation formula in their dining bowls and put tassels (zitzit) in garments. Jesus said to have even worn such tassels (Mk 5:28, 6:56). In the world that was believed to be overpopulated by evil spirits, exorcism was an in-demand job. The exorcists, people trained to cast out demons, were popular and always on call.

But demons were also powerful and stubborn. They could not be cast out just like that. Even the combined efforts of the disciples could not cast out the evil spirit that had made a boy epileptic (Mk 9:14-19). It would need the demon’s boss, the master demon, to terminate his job of possessing the boy. Since, Jesus never had a failed exorcism, people began to think he could be “prince of demons.”

The gospel above leaves us with s tinge of irony. On the one hand, we readers know clearly Jesus is not the prince of demons. On the other hand, Jesus is Lord in the sense what he has lorded over, confined and overcome the power of evil in the world. The last book of the Bible assures us:

“…Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down…. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have salvation and power come and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death,’” (rev 12:9-11) Fr. Rudolf C. Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2007

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Divide et Impera!” or Divide and rule. In the time of the Roman emperors, decades before Christ was born, this was the methodology of conquering other empires throughout Europe. Cause a conflict within one nation, make the divisions fight each other until the empire weakens and reaches its downfall.

“If a kingdom is divided against itself, the kingdom cannot stand,” so says Jesus in today’s gospel. Jesus is refuting the argument leveled against Him that He works with evil to drive out evil spirits. He is actually making a statement: division is evil; unity is of utmost importance.

This is what Jesus passionately prayed for on the night before he died. “Father, that they maybe one even as you and I are one.” The very principle that unites the Holy Trinity is the model and source of unity that should bind all His disciples. Within the Holy Trinity, each Divine Person is totally different and unique from each other and yet there is perfect harmony. There is no competition, only collaboration. The work of one is the work of the other. That is why Jesus can say: “The Father and I are one.”

As Christians, our mission on earth is to proclaim the Kingdom of God and reflect the Holy Trinity in our relationships, families and communities. Divisions, conflicts and disharmony among Christians and therefore is a great disservice to God and His Kingdom.

Unity is at the heart of Jesus’ desire for His community of disciples, says Rick Warren. Destroy unity and you rip the heart out of the Body of Christ, the Church. St. Paul advised the early Christians, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” (Eph 4:3). (Fr. Jun de Ocampo, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Reflection: The Spirit of God is at work in us. Today’s gospel reveals the true color of the Pharisees. Their motive was to discredit Jesus.  They resorted to slander. They accused Jesus of conniving with the prince of demons. They attributed his healing power to Beelzebul. Jesus answered them with simple logic as: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand (v.24).

What are the lessons from today’s gospel?

First, with Jesus on our side, we are strong. We can stand. We can achieve.  Together with Jesus, we can overcome sin and Satan. With Jesus, we will not be divided. We will not fall and fail. If we side with Jesus, we are all safe, secured and will be saved.

Second, as we follow Jesus, we could also be wrongly accused and ridiculed. We could be misunderstood. They will question our motives. They will reject our initiative and plans. They will look negatively on us. We could become unpopular. We could hear derogatory remarks rather than complimentary words. But remember we work for God. It is him whom we have to please with our words and actions. Our works must be the works of God. And we must remain close to Jesus. We must be strongly united with Him. (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos, STL Read, Commit, and Serve Jesus [Gospel Reflections and Prayers for the 1st to 9th Week in Ordinary Time], 2008: 98)

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Marlene Aguilar said that Pope Francis is a demon, kampon ng dilim during the Pope’s visit (January 15-19, 2015) to the Philippines.

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Reflection for January 26, Monday; Sts.Timothy and Titus, Bishops; Mark 3:22-30 Reflection: What is the antidote to evil possession or who can defeat the devil? It’s no other than Jesus only Jesus can defeat the devil. As time progress the devil also progresses; before we only attribute the presence of the devil to evil possession.

But not anymore today! The devil of today doesn’t only present itself by way of evil possession. It presents itself in manifold ways such as: greed, lust enslavement to the modernity of time and so forth. Who can defeat the devil today? It’s still Jesus the same Jesus that defeated the devil in our gospel.

Jesus doesn’t change He is the same Jesus yesterday, today and tomorrow. His power to defeat the devil is still present today as it was present yesterday. But do we allow Jesus to dwell in our lives? Do we still have time for Him in this era of high-technology and high-definition gadgets?

We must at all times give time for Jesus so that we could always ward off the devil from our midst. If you always have Jesus in your life you give no room for the devil to dwell in your life.

Do you give time for Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Source: mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/01/reflection-for-january-26-monday.html

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 3rd Week of the Year

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