Beware of Blasphemies Against the Holy Spirit

The Scribes

My dear friends, the gospel today reflects not only the challenges of Jesus in his days in reaching out to people but also in our contemporary age and time. The Scribes were the major critics of Christ, and as such, they always attacked him to silence him. They searched for every opportunity to discredit him and his mission. Such critics and those who don’t want to hear anything about Christ still abound in our society today. But the power of Christ is greater than what is in them and their mission.

The Authority of Christ

In today’s gospel according to Mark, the Scribes have just witnessed the authority and power of Christ over the evil one. Instead of acknowledging that and giving glory to God, they maliciously decided to arrogate his powers to the work of Satan. They denied his exorcism. And claimed that he is possessed and can only perform such miracle through the power of Satan. The Scribes obstinately rejected the witnessed reality before them just to silence Christ and confuse his followers not to believe in him. They were envious of him. They publicly resisted the true action and work of the Holy Spirit simply because it was done by Christ. And as if that was not enough, and to confuse his followers even more, they accused him of being possessed and acting through the power of the prince of devils. What a deceit!

The Contemporary Scribes

This type of scenario still plays out in our contemporary society. We have a lot of “Scribes” in the world today. They find it hard to believe the work of the Holy Spirit. They doubt that the Holy Spirit can work through various ways and means and can use anyone he judges worthy to carry out his mission. Often times, such people criticize the manifestations of the power of God in our brethren. And for some, once the work is not being done by them or someone from their religious body or church, it is not genuine and cannot be from God.

Such attitude is sheer restriction of the Holy Spirit, which is totally wrong and not far from the sins of the Scribes. They couldn’t believe Christ because the healing was not coming from one of them, and as such they attributed the work of Christ to Satan.

The Fallacy of the Scribes

Aware of their ignorance and the illogical assertion of their argument, Jesus summoned them to himself and started to teach them. And to expunge their ignorance, he taught them ‘in known parables.’ He said to them: ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last’ (Mk 3: 23-24). By that he meant that Satan cannot oppose himself. If he does, it means he is fighting himself and destroying his kingdom. Again, he says: ‘no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house’ (Mk 3:27). And by that he meant to say that he is the strong man who can overcome the devil because the devil has occupied wrongly ‘the house’ or ‘the world’ which does not belong to him. And being the strong man, he has come to take over his household by casting out and binding the evil One because the household of God belongs to him and not the devil.

The Sins Against the Holy Spirit

The Scribes were very obstinate in believing the work of Christ. They were jealous and envious of the spiritual powers of Christ. They publicly opposed the true reality of the work of Christ they have witnessed and refused to repent. These are grave sins against the Holy Spirit.

Having defeated their argument, Jesus, therefore, clearly warned the Scribes and indeed everyone on the blasphemies against the Holy Spirit. Hence, he says: “All men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mk 3:28-29). This is a strong statement and warning to all of us. We must work hard not to engage in this kind of sin in our lives. And in our relationship with God and his works.

Peace be with you!

[Readings: Heb 9:15, 24-28; Mk 3:22-30]

Fr. Cyriacus Uzochukwu

Rev Fr Cyriacus Uzochukwu is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Orlu, a former editor of The Forum Newspaper of the diocese and currently the associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church Exeter, Devon, UK.

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