Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 10, 2018

Reading 1 GN 3:9

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.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (7bc) 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. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
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. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption
and he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Reading 2 2 COR 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

Alleluia JN 12:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Now the ruler of the world will be driven out, says the Lord;
and when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 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.”

Sunday Gospel Reflections
Fr. Toto Cerrada, SDB
Mary Help of Christians Parish, Calamba City

Jesus and His Family

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time June 10, 2018 Mark 3:20-35

“For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother (Mrk 3:35).”

In ancient Israel as well as in many Asian and African cultures, family and kinship are core to one’s identity. The family is practically everything. A person is born, growing, getting old and dying within a family and clan. In traditional Filipino and Indonesian settings, a house is meant for an extended and expanded family. Several generations are living in one house. When I ask some of my Filipino friends, “If your house is burning, what are the first things you will save?” Their answer is not money, important documents or jewelry, but family pictures! In 1977, the Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, one of the most prominent African figures during that time, visited the US and talked before the African students who studied there. Before them, he criticized those Africans who received much support from their families and clan, yet refused to go back after their studies. It was an act of cowardice and betrayal to Africa.

However, closely reading today’s Gospel from Mark, a good family-oriented and devoted Catholic will be startled. Naturally, we would expect Jesus to welcome Mary, his mother, and his relatives who come and look for Him. Surprisingly, Jesus does not do what is expected, but rather He takes that occasion to show His new family, “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.’” (Mk. 3:34-35) Jesus’ words seem to be harsh since Jesus appears to exclude Mary and Jesus’ relatives from the composition of His new family. Does it mean Jesus disrespect Mary, His parent? Does it mean that for Jesus, the biological and traditional family have no value?

The answer is plain no. Certainly, Jesus respects and loves His mother as He fulfills the fourth commandment of the Law, “Thou shall honor thy parents.” Jesus also upholds and teaches the sanctity of both marriage and family life (see Mat 5:31-32; Mat 19:19). The early Christians also follow Jesus’ teaching on the integrity of marriage and family life, as reflected in various letters of St. Paul and other apostles (see 1 Cor 7:1-17; Eph 6:1-5). We are sure that for Jesus, marriage and family are good, but the point of our Gospel is Jesus is calling all of us to go beyond this natural relationship. The new family of Jesus is not based on blood but rooted in following Jesus and doing the will of God. This is also the call that Jesus addresses to Mary and His relatives. Surely, Mary becomes the model of faith as she obeys the will of God in the Annunciation (Lk 2:26-38), follows Jesus even to the cross (Jn 19:25-26) and stays and prays together with the early Church (Acts 1:14). St. Augustine says about Mary in his homily, “It means more for her, an altogether greater blessing, to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been Christ’s mother.”

The family as a natural institution is good, but Jesus teaches that we need to be the good disciples of Jesus first before we become a good family member. Otherwise, the family will be exposed to evil and destruction. Corruption, nepotism, and cronyism are evil practices rooted in the natural family. Another extreme is when brothers fight, even kill, each other over inheritance as if they are not coming from the same womb. It is the will of God that we are faithful to one another, that we do justice, that we are merciful especially to the weak and poor. Without Christian values, the family will not become the source of goodness. Echoing the words of St. Augustine, it is a blessing to be part of a family, but it is an altogether a greater blessing to become Christ’s disciple.

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

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