Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jun 9, 2024 Views 101 Listen 1 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Book of Genesis (3:9-15)

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!" The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me; she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it." The Lord God then asked the woman, "Why did you do such a thing?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."

Then the Lord God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6ab, 7bc-8)


(R) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. (R)

If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. (R)

I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in his word. More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the LORD. (R)

For with the Lord is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption and he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (4:13-5:1)

Brothers and sisters: Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore we speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (3:20-35)

Jesus came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, "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 the 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."

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you." But he said to them in reply, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

These past few weeks we have been reflecting on various Solemnities of the Lord such as the Ascension, Pentecost, the Holy Trinity, the Body and Blood of Christ, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These solemnities really help us understand our relationship with God, deepen our faith in Him, and to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to His purposes. Whereas, the Ordinary Time, the first period between the end of the Christmas Season and the start of the Lenten Season and the second period between the end of the Easter Season and the beginning of Advent Season, which we resume today, gives us the chance to focus on what Jesus said and did while he walked this earth and how He lived out His mission in the ordinary moments of His life. It also helps us to learn of Jesus' character traits, such as meekness, humility, compassion, gentleness, self-control, patience, godliness, righteousness, obedience, love, joy, and forgiveness and to embody them in our lives. The biblical stories about Jesus teach us how to live for God and to grow in our journey to become more and more like Him.

Today's gospel passage appears at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in Mark's Gospel, (3:20-35). The gospels give no indication of where Jesus was between the ages 12 and 30 except from Luke's account which says, "He grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and all the people," Luke (2:52). Despite "the unaccounted years" of Jesus, we can confidently say that Jesus grew up in the seclusion of a simple family in lowly Nazareth until the day He left his family and went to the Jordan River where He received baptism from John. He didn't need to be baptized because He was God's Son, and sinless. Yet he participated in it to identify Himself with sinful humanity. He then called his first disciples and set out preaching the gospel on lakeshores and hillsides, in towns and villages, synagogues and temple, marketplaces, streets and houses. He was speaking to the large crowds and individuals, men and women, old and young, rich and poor, righteous and unrighteous. He was claiming that He was sent by God and that with his own coming to earth, God's Kingdom has come near in a way that has never happened before in all of human history. He was healing the sick and driving out the evil spirits with a simple command. Thus, Jesus demonstrated His authority in many ways: over the Scriptures; in forgiving sin; in healing and casting out demons; and over creation. But not everyone was happy with Jesus' teaching and His assumption of authority.

Jesus' life changed unexpectedly so much so fast that people reacted in different ways. Some believed in Jesus' power and authority and dedicated themselves to His teaching whereas his family, probably the inhabitants of his village Nazareth, thought He was out of his mind and the religious leaders thought he was empowered by Satan. They tried to discredit Jesus. You know, one of the ways to discredit or just demean and dismiss someone's argument or position or challenge is to irreverently attack the person or some aspects of the person, the so-called character assassination. This is a tool which politicians around the world generally use in order to discredit and destroy their political opponents. That's exactly what happened to Jesus; some people regarded him as insane and some others considered him as possessed by demons. They questioned His authority. They asked for His credentials and for the source of His power. They accused him of driving out demons by the power of Satan.

However, Jesus responded by saying that "Any kingdom or nation or household divided against itself cannot stand. So, too, Satan divided against himself cannot stand." In other words, Jesus pointed out to them that Satan will never work against his own purposes and it is illogical to expect Satan to lend his power to anyone for the purpose of increasing God's glory. Further, Jesus confronted their slander with a parable. He said that it would be impossible for an intruder to enter a house and rob a strong man of his goods without first putting the strong man in shackles, and confining him. So, too, Jesus indicated that He bound the "strong man", Satan and delivered those who are under his influence and power. By this, Jesus affirmed that not only is He not working for or with Satan, but rather, He has invaded Satan's domain and He is much more powerful than Satan, and that by authority of His Word He could render Satan powerless to stop him from driving out demons. Furthermore, Jesus warned them that they were in danger of committing the unforgiveable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. Because despite having seen all the miracles, they attributed Jesus' work to the devil. Finally, speaking of the members of his family waiting outside to see him Jesus declared that only those do God's will are his family not the people who are related by blood. In other words, only those who follow Christ, believing in Him and obeying his teachings are his true family.

What is the message for us?

  • While preaching "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" John the Baptist said that the One who is coming after him would be more powerful than He, and that he felt unworthy to even untie His sandals, Mark (1:7:11). Today's gospel teaches us that Jesus is the one that John was speaking about, and that He is here in our midst, even during all the ups and downs and times of crisis in our lives. Jesus as the "Messiah" and the "Son of God", has power over all the forces of evil, the natural world, the effects of sin in our minds and bodies, and the temptations that challenge us. Lots of people admire Jesus. They see him as a good man, a great moral teacher, a holy man, a model for love, compassion, and forgiveness. All these are true, but there is a danger in the titles like these. They can also be a way of putting Jesus off, keeping him at a distance.

  • It is not enough that we admire Jesus. We must also be bold enough to commit ourselves to His purposes. You know, we can admire the commitment that others have, and we can praise their zeal and enthusiasm. But we do not see ourselves being so committed. For us Christians, Jesus is more than a great teacher or a holy religious leader or a perfect role model. He is God Himself in human flesh; fully God and fully man. He is the powerful one that God has sent for us. He is the ultimate manifestation of God's presence with us, Isaiah (7:14). And so, whatever circumstances, trials or tribulations we are facing, let us admit our own powerlessness and need for God's assistance, believe in His power to save us, and earnestly call upon the name of Jesus, for through that name the foundations are shaken and demons tremble. We shall pray today and every day in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, that He may help us deal with issues at home, at work, and in our relationships, to overcome our fears and anxieties, to persevere in doing good despite difficulties, and to bind every evil spirit in our lives, to fortify our souls against temptations and evil influences and to deliver us from sin.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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