Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
June 09 2024 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Exodus 17:22-24 | Psalm 92:2-3;14-16
II Corinthians 5:6-10 | Mark 4:26-31

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

At my first reading of today’s lectionary scriptures from Genesis, Corinthians, and Mark, they seemed to be in disparity with each other, but upon closer examination and study, they all share a basic focus: the theme of choice: the choice between listening to God and following His commands, or listening to other voices and being led astray.

Our first reading from Genesis tells about the man and woman who have eaten the fruit in the garden in direct violation of God’s command.  When they hear the “breeze” which is the sound of God, they hide.  When confronted by God, the man claims, “I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”

So God, acting like a prosecuting attorney asked him, “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?”  The man doesn’t accept responsibility for his deed and instead blames God by implying that if God hadn’t sent the woman as a companion, he would not have eaten the fruit!  When God questions the woman, she blames the serpent.  So God passes judgment on the serpent.

And if you believe in the doctrine of original sin, which is questioned by many scholars,  the woman’s decision to listen to the serpent results in dire consequences for both the man and the woman, but the woman, Eve, is not the one responsible for original sin, it was the man, Adam.  According to St. Augustine of Hippo, Adam’s sin is transmitted by concupiscience or “hurtful desire” resulting in humanity becoming  a ”massa damnata” (mass of perdition, condemned crowd) with much enfeebled, though not destroyed freedom of will.  When the man, Adam, sinned, human nature was transformed.

However, The Eastern Church teaches the theory of ancestral sin, which means that although humanity inherits the effects of  Adam’s sin, it does not inherit the guilt or punishment of Adam’s sin.

This episode in the Garden of Eden is a cautionary tale to remind us to be diligent and mindful of those you choose to listen to and follow.

The reading from Second Corinthians encourages us to look at the unseen eternal aspects of God instead of the temporary, transient aspects of life on earth.  It suggests that suffering and hardship, such as what Paul endured, are finite and temporary, but what God promises us through Jesus is infinite and eternal.

In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus tells His apostles about the importance of family and commitment.  Jesus enters a house where a large crowd has gathered to hear Him speak.  The people are so eager to see Him that they are not even able to eat!  This overwhelming response to Him shows the impact He had on those who were seeking salvation and guidance in their lives.

Amidst the excitement, Jesus’ own family arrives to see Him, including His mother, Mary, and His brothers.  However, they were unable to reach Jesus because of the large crowd.  When Jesus was told that His family was outside asking for Him, He responded

in a surprising manner by saying, “Whoever does the will of God is my borther and sister and mother.”  This statement emphasizes the importance of our spiritual family and the bond that connects all believers in Christ.

Jesus then proceeds to teach His disciples about the power of forgiveness and the dangers of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  He says that all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.  This warning serves as a reminder of the consequences of rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit and denying the truth of God’s Word in the passage.

Jesus also addresses His authority over Satan’s demons by expelling them with a simple command.

Despite all the miracles and teachings Jesus performed, He still faced opposition and criticism from the scribes and Pharisees.  They accused Him of being possessed by Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, and claimed that He was using demonic powers to perform His miracles.  Jesus responded to their accusations by stating that Satan cannot cast out Satan and that a divided kingdom cannot stand.  He rebuked their false accusations and warned them of the consequences of rejecting the truth of His teachings.

Jesus then speaks to His disciples about the importance of being united in their mission to spread the Gospel and build the Kingdom of God.  He uses the analogy of a strong man who guards his house illustrating the need for believers to stand together against the forces of evil and remain steadfast in their faith.  Jesus emphasizes the power of unity and solidarity among His followers, showing that they are stronger together than they are apart.

Finally, Jesus addresses the crowds who had gathered to hear Him speak.  He warns them of the dangers of seeking signs and wonders as a way to validate their faith.  Instead, Jesus tells them that true belief comes from the heart and requires a sincere commitment  to following God’s will.  He calls on them to repent and turn away from their sinful ways, emphasizing the importance of a spiritual transformation and a genuine desire to seek God’s Kingdom.

Jesus’ words serve as a reminder of the importance of spiritual family, forgiveness and commitment to following God’s will.

Through His miracles and teachings, Jesus shows  that He is the Son of God with authority over all things, and He calls on His followers to remain believers as we are called to emulate the examples of Jesus and continue to spread the Gospel to all those who are seeking salvation and truth in their lives. Amen.