The Gospel Today
Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“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 his 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Enrico Terrel):
In science, there is a law from Sir Isaac Newton that states, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Furthermore, there is also a saying that goes, “we can never please everyone”. That is so true regardless of the goodness of our act and our intention. Some may approve it but others might not. The Gospel narrates Jesus who is derided by the scribes as someone possessed by Beelzebul and exorcised demons from possessed persons through the help of other demons. What we have here is Jesus who is faithful in His mission of proclaiming the Kingdom of God through His mighty act. But instead of believing in Him and His work, some of the people, the scribes in particular, refuse to believe Him. Instead of seeing the goodness of God at work in Jesus, the scribes deem Christ as evil. It is not surprising if Jesus would have felt hurt given the response of the people. Facing a similar situation, other people might have responded to the ingratitude and pessimism of the scribes by being vengeful or judgmental. Nevertheless, Jesus does not respond that way. Otherwise, He would have fallen into the trap of the evil one and end up sinning. Rather, He responds to the biased remark of the scribes with an intelligent question, “how can Satan drive out Satan?” It is a question that exposes the contradiction in the thinking and way of life of the scribes. They are meant to be the authorities of the law but their pride that is born of their expertise of the law, blinded them to the truth that Christ is the fulfilment and perfection of the law. What we can draw from this is that we are always called to be good and to do loving deeds for the betterment of others. However, we should expect also that there would be opposition to the things that we do. They might give accusations or unfounded statements against us. But we should not avenge ourselves or be discouraged. We should emulate Christ who shows restraint and intelligence to his detractors.