Reflection on the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

by Fr Dumisani Mazibuko OSM

The Mission of Jesus was to defeat the devil once and for all. God the Father sent Jesus to the world to reconcile man with God by defeating the evil one. And so in the readings we see good overcoming evil even in difficult circumstances, good prevails. Indeed the power and goodness of Jesus surpasses the evil one. In the readings we see that what the devil presents us with is apparent good. And this apparent good is attractive but only for a moment for it brings shame and loneliness. We also see the consequences of evil and these are pain, enmity and death. But in all these, one born out of man will conquer the evil, Jesus is his name. Jesus gathers around him a new family, who nourish themselves with his word and presence and eureka, the evil one is conquered. Let us give thanks to God for sending us His Son through Mary our Mother so that we can achieve our full potential by conquering the evil one.

1st reading       GEN 3:9-15

This is the first book in the Old Testament that begins by giving us the account of creation. We hear how beautiful life was in the Garden of Eden before sin came into the world through the devil. We also hear of the close relationship God had with man before the devil came in. in the bliss of this beautiful life the evil came in and brought about shame and pain. We hear how tricky and subtle the devil can be when drawing us to him. And when the devil has completed his work, he leaves us in the wilderness of shame so much so that when God comes looking for us, we hide from Him. But He continues to call us by name. we also learn that whatever choice and decision we take, there are consequences. The consequences of listening to the devil as we hear from the reading are shame, blaming the next person thus not taking responsibility, enmity and death. Being obedient to the word of God is our only to resist the evil one, through prayer. In the end, an offspring will prevail. An offspring? Yes, through the very same figure through which sin came into the world, from her will come the victor over sin. In the New Testament, Mary gives birth to Jesus who reconciles man with God. Jesus brings man back to life and good triumphs over evil.

2nd reading         II Cor 4:13-5:1

In today’s passage, St Paul reflects on his current situation where declares that though his physical body is wearing up, he remains steadfast due to an unparalleled enfeeblement. Each day Paul sees a new man growing in him who is destined to live forever. Simply put, St Paul says the present tribulations are light and temporal compared to the glory that is incomparable and eternal. Is St Paul saying we must despise the things of this world? Paul invites us rather to have an attitude that give material things their proper value, that is they must not become or be turned into idol. They must not be our main aim in life, but rather we must use them to live and not live to accumulate them for our life on this earth is only temporary. Therefore at the heart of Paul’s message today is that we are pilgrims on the move towards God. This journey needs each one of us to attune our minds toward heavenly realities.

Gospel                           Mark 3:20-35

With All the characters in today’s gospel one thing is clear, Jesus has the power to tie the evil down. Against all opposition Jesus gathers all people to His Father. He welcomes all, He is for all. We also hear that it is not enough to be a physical member of the Christian family, the church. This means that our baptism certificate is not enough, we need to listen constantly to the God’s word and put it into practice especially when in the eyes of the world it may seem madness or absurd. For instance, how many of us listen to Jesus when he says that we must love those who have wronged us? When he asks us to share the goods with the poor? When he tells us not to seek revenge? To the world these are the attitudes that define a person. We hear of two groups of people in the gospel. One is a group of people who are “inside” with Jesus and the other group is the one “outside”. I wonder to which group we belong to? Are we inside or outside? We hear of the group that was that they were his relatives, they had known Jesus since childhood. They represent those who refuse to listen to Jesus when he calls for conversion, a change of mentality. They label Jesus to be out of his mind. I am tempted to think that these are the physical members of the Christian family. These members do not allow themselves to be challenged by the gospel. What about us today? How open are we to the demands of the gospel? Do we allow the gospel to challenge us to the core? We then hear of a group who came with a grievance and an accusation: Jesus is possessed and works wonders with the help of the devil. However Jesus proves too good for them. He gives them an answer that shows that he is indeed from God. Now, by his very nature the devil is against God’s people and everything that is good. He is against anything that makes man attain his fullness. And the works of Jesus were opposite to those of the devil. His actions could not be from the evil spirit. The danger for us today is that we can despair because we see so much evil in the world, maybe in our country, community and in ourselves. Jesus invites us to be optimistic. We cannot, we must give up because he has already defeated the evil one.