In this Sunday’s gospel (Mark 3:20-35), Jesus encounters scribes come from Jerusalem who make the surprising accusation that he is demonically possessed. Who would have thought? Apparently, they did! In response, Jesus cleverly underscores the incoherence of such an accusation: he cannot expel demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. And, he famously says,
"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."
Oh, how Jesus desires unity, how Jesus desires our unity as a parish community. He beseeches it of the Father thrice in his intimate priestly prayer in John 17 (verses 11, 21 and 23). Unity follows love. Our unity thus depends upon the work of the Holy Spirit in us and upon our response in faith, hope and love to such work. We respond in seeking to love another. Indeed, St. John tells us that“no one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (I John 4:12).
As we seek to love one another and to live in unity, we can get wounded along the way—by one another, by others in the complex world in which we live. Our response to the work of the Holy Spirit in us thus necessarily includes a willingness to forgive. Let us hear and heed the words of St. Paul in this regard
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgives you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
(Colossians 3: 13-14)
Yours in Christ,