Genesis 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 4:13--5:1; Mark 3:20-35
A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand
Jesus tells us in our Gospel reading that ‘if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand’. If there is a war going on in our mind the solution is not to cower from the fight and seek refuge in ‘holding patterns’ that at best offer a truncated existence and at worst can be actively destructive, but instead to build the kinds of relationships that will embolden us and strengthen us carry our cross, to fight the good fight, and finally find freedom.
First of all, this means building a friendship with Jesus. St. Paul tells us in our second reading that:
We too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us.
In his resurrection Jesus conquered sin and death, he showed us that he is victorious over all evil, including the darkness in your life and in mine. If we embrace a friendship with Jesus then we embrace the love that casts out all fear and the love that can break every chain. The road might be long. We will always have to carry our cross. But if we remain united to Christ we will face our fears armed with a light that the darkness can never overcome. Paul reminds us that if we stand firm with Jesus, then:
though this outer man of ours may be falling into decay, the inner man is renewed day by day.
And, if the best part of us is continually renewed in Christ and in the Spirit, then we will find freedom in this life or the next.
Second, we need to become active members of Jesus’ family. We heard Jesus declare in our Gospel reading:
Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’
The will of God is that we love another as Jesus has loved us, we manifest our adoption into God’s family when like Jesus we live not for ourselves but for others. Empowered by the Spirit and in union with Jesus, we can become a gift of God to other people. If we allow God to love us, he can work through us such that we become a blessing to those around us. There is a deep joy and a deep happiness in knowing that we make the lives of others more bearable by our care and service. In loving others, we so often discover that we too are much more lovable than we ever dared to hope. And when our love is inspired by God, we glimpse the awesome love that our heavenly Father has for us as his beloved children, a love that embraces us even when we do not love ourselves, a love that is true and good and without end.
By Nickolas Crowe O.P.