3rd Week of Ordinary Time (28th January, 2019)
First Reading: Heb 9:15, 24-28
Gospel: Mk 3:22-30
Today’s reading speaks about ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’. It is mentioned in Mk 3:22-30 as well as Mt 12:22-32. The background of this is the cure of a demon possessed man by Jesus. He was healed of his blindness as well as muteness. This cure led to wonder among the people if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. However, on the other hand, we have the Pharisees who, to quell the enthusiasm of people about Jesus and quash the budding faith termed Jesus as devil saying, “It is only by Beelzebul, the Prince of demons, that this fellow derives out demons (Mt 12:24). After defending His divinity or the argument that He is not casting out demons with the power of Satan, pronounces, “And so I tell you, every kind of son and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Blasphemy in general terms would mean sins of cursing God or willful degraded of thing relating to God. Here Jesus speaks of blasphemy of Holy Spirit. This is because of the adamant disbelief of Pharisees in Jesus having the divine power to drive out demons and therefore their disregard for his divinity as a person filled with Holy Spirit. In other words, the blasphemy spoken of here is the charge of accusation against Pharisees for labeling Jesus Christ of being demon possessed instead of spirit filled. Such belief is described by Jesus as unpardonable because of their willful blindness. Such willful reluctance to recognize the presence of Holy Spirit in him was rendered unpardonable. They remained completely unwilling to accept him as Son of God and purposely attributed his works to the power of devils. Their rejection of God’s grace became unpardonable. By saying, “Pharisees’ blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this age in the age to come, he meant that their sins would never be forgiven at all times. They became guilty of eternal sin.
The blasphemy against Holy Spirit could continue even today when we remain in the state of defiance against the power of Jesus in our lives when we remain stubborn in our rejection of his divinity. Our willful unrepentant state would lead us to the situation of ‘blasphemy against the Spirit. When we remain resistant to the inspiration of the Spirit to believe in Jesus Christ, we too remain unpardonable. Therefore, the sins committed by the Pharisees and their state of being unpardonable could happen even today when we reject despite knowing and experience in His love for us. So, he says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; but whoever rejects the Son will not see life because God’s wrath would remain in him” (Jn 3:36). Jesus came so that we may have life in Him. We receive that life by our belief and trust in Him. Our continuous acts of evil nature and complete defiance against the love of God would land us in eternal damnation. It is therefore not Jesus Christ who punishes but we ourselves because we make ourselves deserve it by our live and actions. Amen.