Daily Gospel Reflection: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Bishop Robert Barron
January 22, 2024
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Gospel: Mk 3:22-30
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, "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 his 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."
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, scribes accuse Jesus of driving out demons by Beelzebul—by Satan.
The two great names of the devil in the Bible are “the accuser” and “the scatterer.” Both are operative and visible in this story. And this helps us immensely to understand Jesus and his work.
We see in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus is known as an exorcist, someone who drives out the demonic. Jesus specifies that his work is in driving out Satan—which is to say, the accuser. The false way of organizing ourselves—present from the beginning—is through accusation, scapegoating, the establishment of us against them, insiders vs. outsiders.
The kingdom of God will be predicated on other assumptions—namely, love, nonviolence, forgiveness of enemies, the overcoming of division. When this vision of life comes into conflict with the powers of the world—which was more or less inevitable—Jesus becomes, himself, an accused victim, a scapegoat.
But instead of responding in kind, he takes upon himself that negative, satanic energy and swallows it up in the divine mercy.