Gospel Reflection: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1

Gn 3:9-15

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."


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."


Leading up to this Sunday, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They remind us of the deep relationship between Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, as well as their love and closeness to us as we strive to live out holiness. Interestingly, on this year’s liturgical calendar, the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time follows these two celebrations, whose Gospel contains the jarring words: “He is out of His mind.” Our Lord’s relatives, who do not understand the reason for His teachings and public ministry, render Him a madman.

To say the least, following the mission and will of the Father can be challenged today, as Our Lord was. Sometimes we receive similar criticism for faithfully attending Sunday Mass or striving to live out the Church’s teachings, even by a family member or a friend. Perhaps you have tried to share your faith with a loved one and have left feeling defeated.

Do not underestimate the power of your own witness and example. In an address to the lay faithful, Pope Saint Paul VI once remarked: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Your joy and faithfulness often times more effectively evangelize than the most eloquent or convincing arguments do. Do not underestimate the seeds you are planting.

We are consoled that the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary draw near to us in these moments. When we receive the Heart of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist at Mass, we receive the strength we need to give this witness to Him. When we ask the Heart of Mary to pray for us, we know that her prayers will help us be faithful disciples of her Son, even if we face criticisms, coldness, or unkind words.

In expressing His closeness to those who drew near to Him, Our Lord said: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” May our Blessed Mother, whose Immaculate Heart was faithful to God’s will and humble in her witness to all He had done in her life, intercede for us as we give testimony to our faith — both in the good and difficult moments.

Please be assured of my prayers for you before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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