Commentary for 10th Sunday Year B

Resources Used:
  • Navarre Bible, Light of the Word by Balthasar, Opening the Word Series by FORMED, St. Charles Borromeo Bible Study, Sin and Blaming by Bishop Robert Barron, Msgr. Pope’s homily.
First Reading: Genesis 3:9–15

The early chapters of the Book of Genesis have much to teach us about why things are as they are today. And it helps us immensely to see the work of Christ — as shown in today’s Gospel — who drives out Satan, the accuser.

9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Sin always involves an alienation from God. Yet He always seeks us out. This is a soulful cry of a Father.

How would we answer this question to God? Where are you? Where is your heart? On what are your desires focused?

God is really asking Adam: “Where are you in your relationship to me?” It is always God who issues the invitation to confess our sins to Him – He does it with a little nudge of the conscience. God knows all our sins, but He wants us to verbalize them so that we are sure that we know what they are. ~ St. CB Bible Study

10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

“He whose sins contradict God always tries to extricate himself from self-condemnation by blaming someone else, as the first reading teaches” ~ Balthasar, LW, 210

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

This passage is called the “Proto-gospel”: it is the first announcement to mankind of the good news of the Redeemer-Messiah. Clearly, a bruise to the head is deadly, whereas a bruise to the heel is curable. ~ Navarre Bible, Pentateuch 54.

St Thomas explains that the reason why God did not prevent the first man from sinning was because “God allows evils to be done in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’ (Rom 5:20); and the Exultet sings, ‘O happy fault, … which gained for us so great a Redeemer’ ” (Summa theologiae, 3, 1, 3 ad 3; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 412). ~ Ibid, 55.

“The harmony in which they found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions (cf. Gen 3:7–16), their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man (cf. Gen 3:17, 19). Because of man, creation is now subject ‘to its bondage to decay’ (Rom 8:21). Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will ‘return to the ground’ (Gen 3:19), for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history (cf. Rom 5:12)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 400).

Psalm: Psalm 130:1–8
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1
13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.

“The Apostle explains where he gets the strength to bear all the tribulations of this life—from his hope in the resurrection and his expectation of being in heaven with those to whom he is writing (v. 14)” ~ Navarre Bible

“He who raised Jesus from the dead will raise us also if we do His will and walk in His commandments and love the things which He loved, abstaining from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking and false witness” ~ Polycarp

15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

A great paradox for Christians. The outer man (perishable body) wastes away in tribulation and affliction. The inner man (life of the soul) grows daily through faith, hope, and love. The saints prove this to be true.

“When does this outer nature waste away? When it is scourged, when it is persecuted time out of number. Yet ‘our inner nature is being renewed every day.’ How? By faith, by hope and by charity. Therefore, we must brave these dangers which threaten us. In proportion as our body suffers our soul must grow in hope and become brighter, as gold becomes brighter the greater the heat in which it is being refined” ~ St. John Chrysostom, Hom. on 2 Cor, 9

17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,

Thinking about the incomparable joys of heaven helps us to persevere in the midst of sufferings here on earth. Whatever we suffer is nothing compared with the eternal glory that awaits us (Romans 8:18).

“The ‘limitless abundance’ of ‘eternal glory’ promised to the followers of Jesus does not lighten the burden of the cross at all. The heavier the cross, the more disproportionately weighty is the subsequent glory and resurrection” ~ Balthasar, LW, 211

The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is… It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. ~ CS Lewis, Weight of Glory, 10

18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

“Consider, dearly beloved, that life’s troubles, even if distressing, are still of short duration, whereas the good things that will come to us in the next life are eternal and everlasting. ‘What is seen is transitory,’ Scripture says, but ‘what is not seen is eternal.’ Accordingly, let us endure what is passing with out complaint and not desist from virtue’s struggle so that we may enjoy the good things that are eternal and last forever” ~ Saint John Chrysostom (ca. A.D. 392), Homilies On The Second Epistle To the Corinthians, 9.3.

5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Gospel: Mark 3:20–35

Our Gospel for today occurs immediately after Jesus appoints the 12 apostles.

20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.”

“Beelzebul” means “lord of the dwelling” or “baal the prince.” Translations from the Vulgate have “Beelzebub” which means “lord of the flies.” “Beelzebub” is not found in the Greek manuscripts. Nowhere in pre-Christian literature is Beelzebul identified with a demon, although he is clearly identified here as such.

23 And he called them to him, and spoke 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 his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

Really challenging Gospel for us today. 1st Jesus counters accusation that He is cooperation with the devil through a rational answer. Jesus quotes from Israel’s own story — a house divided against itself (North and South conquered by Israel’s enemies).

“Mention has been made of the unclean spirit whom the Lord shows to be divided against himself. The Holy Spirit, however, is not divided against himself. Rather He makes those whom He gathers together undivided against themselves, by dwelling within those who have been cleansed, that they may be like those of whom it is written in the Acts of the Apostles (4:32), ‘The community of believers was of one heart and mind’” [Saint Augustine of Hippo (between A.D. 392 and 418), Sermons On Selected Lessons Of The New Testament, 21,35].

28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

“Those who accuse Jesus of having an evil spirit are equating the Spirit of God with Satan, which is the most unforgivable of blasphemies” ~ Balthasar, LW, 210

The unforgivable sin is in the story. They have cut themselves off to seeing Jesus as from the Father because they have ascribed all of His works to Satan. To call the Holy Spirit the devil. 

There are actually four sins against the Holy Spirit: 1) Despair concerning the possibility of salvation. 2) Presumption of God’s mercy and forgiveness. 3) Denial of the truths of faith. 4) Final impenitence and refusal to turn to God. ~ St. CB Bible Study

31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

This shows why Mary is the Mother of God in the first place. Do you do the Father’s will?

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