The Greatest Sin and the Greatest Love

Memorial of St. Angela Merici

Mark 3:22-30

In today’s gospel reading, the scribes accuse Jesus of being possessed and in league with Beelzebul or Satan, who has supposedly given him the power to exorcise other and lesser demons. After demonstrating the folly of their logic, he warns them against committing the unforgivable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, that is ascribing to the devil power that is divine. It’s not that this particular sin is unforgivable per se but rather because the pride, jealousy and spiritual blindness behind it have rendered them incapable of seeing and accepting what is really before them:  the reign of God.

In our increasingly secular, materialistic, technological and scientific world, belief in the existence of the devil and other spiritual beings is often dismissed as primitive, naïve or unenlightened. Br. Dismas Seward, a Capuchin friar, used to tell his students at St. Lawrence Seminary that the greatest trick of Satan was to convince people that he didn’t exist.  But for any person who has been involved with deliverance ministry in the Church or has had to confront some of the worst forms of inhumanity, the evil one is real and active, on the prowl in the world and “seeking the ruin of souls.”  He is opposed to the reign of God and will do whatever he can to undermine it. He likes to sow confusion and division.

Thankfully, Satan has already been defeated—by the Son of God and the greatest act of love the world has ever known. –jc