Christ Binds the Strong Man

“Christ Binds the Strong Man”
A reflection on Mark 3:22-30
Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
©2022 by Gloria M. Chang

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.”

Mark 3:22-30

After being pronounced “out of his mind” by relatives, Jesus was accused of being “possessed by Beelzebul” or an “unclean spirit.” Meanwhile, multitudes hailed him as the “Son of David” as they sought his healing. The wonderworker from Nazareth was also rumored to be John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets (Matthew 16:14). Whoever Jesus was, he was not “normal” in the eyes of society. In the maelstrom of confusion and malice during his trials before Annas, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, and Herod, Jesus was crucified by mob consensus.

“He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him,” the apostle John reflected (John 1:11). Nevertheless, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). 

Jesus came to bind up the “strong man” (Satan) and take back the Father’s children held hostage by sin. Attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to “Beelzebul” amounted to blasphemy, Jesus said. Only a will fixedly aligned with the enemies of God can be an “everlasting sin.”

Kyrie eleison, Lord have mercy, we pray in the Mass for the world and ourselves. May hearts be converted by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Gospel Acclamation (2 Timothy 1:10)

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