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Pastor's Letter 20240609 - 09 June 2024 - 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Posted (edited)


June 9th, 2024



Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  “The Divided Kingdom””

NOTE:  Christmas and Easter highlight the  core of the Paschal Mystery: with the Incarnation; Death on the Cross; Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ; followed by the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  After the feast of Corpus Christi, “Ordinary Time,” takes us through the life of Christ.  It is a time of “conversion”—what we call “living the life of Christ.”  Ordinary Time is a period for growth and maturation, during which, the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history—until all things finally become one with Christ. It closes with The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. 

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

(Genesis 3:9-15)  We heard of the pathetic efforts of Adam and Eve to shift blame for their sin onto the serpent—and then God, Himself.  We also glimpse some of the consequences of sin:  loss of intimacy with God; and a breakdown of the relationship between man and woman.  Fortunately for us, the sad scene ends with a promise of salvation.  


(2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1)  Paul was sustained in his trials by his firm hope that God has a permanent dwelling prepared for him, in heaven.  More than any other quality, it was the power of Paul’s faith, that sustained him; and recommends his teaching to all would-be disciples 


(Mark 3:20-35)  Our Gospel, today illustrates how the promise of salvation is being fulfilled in Jesus.  He overthrew Satan, and established the Kingdom of God.  For those who believe in Him, and who conform to His will, a new kinship is formed.  Mark highlights the frustrations with which Jesus contended—His relatives’ concerns with His direction and the Scribes’ doubting the source of His healing power, perversely claiming it came from Satan.


The Devil Made Me Do it….

In 1857, the poet Charles Baudelaire published his poem, “The Litany of Satan,” in which, he postulated, “The finest trick of the Devil (Satan) ever pulled was to persuade you he does not exist.”  More recently, the 1930s, the radio drama “The Shadow,” purported that the source of evil resides “within the hearts of men.”  By the 1970s, we heard the comedian, Flip Wilson”, tell us, “The Devil made me do it…” on his television program.  (Baudelaire’s line was paraphrased in the film, “The Usual Suspects” {1995,} by the character played by Kevin Spacey.)  

We’ve learned from Genesis how Eve attempted to allay her guilt by putting responsibility for her disobedience (and that of Adam,) on “the serpent.”  God’s condemnation of the serpent has been one noteworthy source for the historical existence for Satan in the world, ever since.  

Genesis further explains that, before “the fall,” Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good or evil—only obtained because they wontonly disobeyed God’s command, vis-à-vis the “tree,” and its “forbidden fruit.”  Thereafter, they felt shame for their act, and their “nakedness.”  When confronted by God, (Who was watching over their actions,) their immediate reaction was to feign lack of understanding for their guilt, and pass culpability onto the serpent.  Of course, as we know, God didn’t excuse their purported “ignorance,” and banished them from the Garden, to fend for themselves in the cruel world.  (It is the responsibility for this first sin, that prompted Augustine to compose the doctrine of “Original Sin”—humanity’s shared responsibility for their actions.  It is to atone for this and other sins, that our Blessed Lord instituted the Sacrament of Baptism, to restore our lost innocence before God.)  

Taken together, along with many other literary Satanic references, it isn’t difficult to understand the proclivity of modern human beings to give over to “the Devil” the culpability for their misdeeds.  But Jesus taught us that the ultimate responsibility for our actions lay within each one of us.  No matter what our background, our genetic makeup, family environment, religious training or schooling, the urge to place blame for our actions on someone else is deeply rooted in our personalities from earliest childhood (when we sought to avoid punishment by lying.)  

Our proclivity to absolve ourselves of guilt for our sins has led to many rationalizations for them.  It is witnessed in everyday life by our willingness to transgress, in varying degrees, from the tenets of the Ten Commandments:  we decide “little white lies” are not serious; suggestive comments and gossip are given short shrift; taking small items from our workplaces without permission are considered unimportant; theft of company products (shrinkage) tends to become “acceptable;” regular practice of violating traffic laws is inconsequential (until we are caught…,) and “minor” infractions of every sort are considered irrelevant.  

In our progressive world, the removal of reminders of our Creator’s presence have become commonplace:  the Ten Commandments have been removed from public places and monuments; prayer in schools has been abolished; and so on.  The very existence of God has become matter for debate, rather than a basis for faith.  However, if there is no source of truth, only “personal opinion” is left to be the arbiter for the morality of our thoughts, words and deeds.  

Dennis Prager tells of one sociological experiment done, wherein “pictures” of the human eye were posted on the walls of a hospital—no verbiage, no captions—with quite telling results (“Fireside Chat”, Ep. 324.)   After a time, caregivers were observed acting with more courtesy and compassion toward patients.  Even common conversations were observed to be less combative; and gossip was almost eradicated among the doctors and nurses.  The subliminal suggestion that “someone” was watching over them was sufficient to improve their behavior.  By mere implication of their responsibility, people were given strength to resist temptation.

Our Blessed Lord sent the Holy Spirit, to Whom we pray for guidance and strength to resist sin.  When we succumb to temptations for personal gain, power or glory we commit the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  And this is not merely a one-time act.  Rather, it becomes an habitual refusal to accept the Light—a refusal so frequent that the mind becomes desensitized and no longer even recognizes Light and/or Truth!  

Jesus called His would-be disciples to a relationship with Him that even superseded the family.  Those who would be close to the reign of God that He made present on earth, are called to open their eyes to the “will of God,” as made manifest in Jesus.  If we strive to do this, we will find the strength to resist temptation, and thereby, sin, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  (Jesus knew none of us are “perfect,” and we would continue to sin.  That is why He instituted the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation,) so we might be reunited with Him, in spite of our transgressions.)

As an incentive to call upon the Holy Spirit for strength, we should remember the adage: “The will of God will never lead you to a place where the grace of God will not protect you….”

May God Richly Bless You!


Today's Meditation Music:

I'm Just A Poor, Wafarin' Stranger



View a recording of today's Holy Mass, here: 



Edited by Father Michael
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