My Dear Friends,
Today we celebrate the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time, in case you forgot, is composed of all the weeks of the year that are not in the Advent-Christmas season or Lent-Triduum-Easter Season.
In today’s Gospel reading from Mark, we encounter scribes try to minimize Jesus’ ability to heal others. Some tried to say he was “out of his mind.” Others said he was “possessed by Beelzebub,” and others said, “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”
Jesus answered them in parables. He especially attacked the idea that he could drive out demons by the prince of demons when he said, “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; that is the end of him” (Mark 3: 24-26).
The conflict between division and unity appears to be a never-ending part of the human condition. President Abraham Lincoln, for example, highlighted the folly of a divided nation – half free and half slave – when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
In the home, parents know just how important it is for them to be unified in child rearing, for if they are not, the children will play one against the other.
And in looking at Church history, we see how disastrous disunity can be – fracturing the Church into different denominations and creating hatred instead of love, exclusion instead of inclusion, and strife instead of peace.
Obviously we should not support ideas contrary to our beliefs. However, we can and should be able to separate the beliefs from the humans who hold them. That, of course, is a tall order – an order requiring maturity, wisdom, and love to prevail. Are we up for it?
Sincerely in Christ,
– Father Bob