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Jacob Boddicker S.J.Jun 9, 2024 12:00:00 AM2 min read

9 June 2024

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Often when reading this Gospel passage, our attention fixates upon Jesus’ teaching that there is indeed one unforgiveable, everlasting sin: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Much ink has been spilt as to what this sin is precisely. Given the context, the meaning is clear: should one give credit that belongs to the Holy Spirit to Satan instead, one has clearly turned against God in an absolute way. For if one attributes miracles and demonic deliverance to Satan instead of the Holy Spirit, how can they be forgiven since, as we hear in the Prayer of Absolution, “God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has poured out the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins?” Such a blasphemer cannot be forgiven because they have given glory to Satan that belongs to God: they have allied themselves with the Enemy. 

This Gospel, however, is not primarily about this matter of unforgivable sin: it is about the nature of sin itself. Sin, by its very nature, divides. We see in the very beginning how sin divides Adam and Eve against each other, and against God; with the advent of illness and death we see sin corrupts even the natural unity of the human body. In our Gospel we see division even between Jesus and His relatives, the scribes, and so on. Sin tears apart; even in Hell the seemingly united front of Satan and his demons is only skin-deep. It is tenuously held together by fear and force; demons are eager to flee in an exorcism unless a more powerful demon above them forces them to remain: thus we can be assured, by Christ’s teaching today, that Satan’s house will ultimately fall, because it has set itself against Unity itself: the Holy Trinity of God, and His Communion of Saints.

Jesus gives us the image of the strong man who is tied up and his house plundered; the strong man is Satan who has possessed someone, and Jesus comes, binds him, and reclaims the person for Himself. So long as we resist Satan, rather than join him—so long as Satan is an invader rather than a guest—Jesus will always be able to have victory over the Enemy within us. As St. Paul famously wrote: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

 How do we avoid letting Satan have power in our lives? Join up with Jesus; be a member of His family by doing the will of God. For if we remain in God’s will, we remain united to Him, and Jesus says, “No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one,” (John 10:29-30). By seeking to do God’s will we are brothers and sisters of Jesus—children of God—and thus are members of the household of God: a house that will stand forever.