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Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Homily. Readings: Genesis 3:9-15; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35.

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Green Stole and Gospel
Readings: Genesis 3:9-15; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35 
 
THEME OF THE READINGS
Adam and Eve represent the human condition in its contrasting reality: on the one hand, dependence on God and his will; on the other, self-assertion and the desire to be their own law of life and action. Man, provoked by the serpent, rebels against God; but the opposite of what man desires takes place (First Reading). We need the coming of a new Adam, Christ, to defeat the serpent, Beelzebub, and to restore the human condition, creating a new man, a new Adam, who seeks and loves God’s will (Gospel). The new man gives his life for the sake of the Gospel, knowing that by spending his life in proclaiming the Kingdom, he will receive an eternal glory that never fades (Second Reading).

DOCTRINAL MESSAGE
The human condition: grace – sin – grace. The first chapters of Genesis are a rich reflection on the human condition with its contrasting and contradictory character, which generates a strong conflict in the human heart. In short, it seeks to answer the fundamental question of existence: Who am I? Reflecting on himself, man discovers that he is a dependent being, but at the same time free (cf. Gaudium et spes, 13). From this arises a conflict that cannot be resolved by tilting the balance toward either side – dependence without freedom or freedom without dependence; rather, both pans of the scale must be kept in balance. Adam and Eve opted for a freedom without dependence and sinned by disobeying God. The sacred text makes us see the deleterious effects that this imbalance produced: They discovered their poverty and fragility (they were naked), the heavy burden of motherhood (Eve) and of work (Adam), and the curse of the serpent, symbol of the devil. But God is compassionate and gracious, abounding in mercy (Psalm 86:15); hence, from humanity’s origins, God makes a promise that marks as it were the beginning of the history of salvation: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel" (Genesis 3:15).

The new human condition: victory over sin and redemption. Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God, is the new man who conquers sin and brings God’s redemption to the world. We see this in the Gospel passage in which Jesus faces two charges. The first comes from the scribes and is a passionate rather than rational indictment: Jesus casts out the demon by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. It wasn’t very hard for Jesus to show that the charge lacked logic. He did so masterfully, such that the scribes, experts of the law and teachers of the people, were left speechless. The second charge comes from the lips of his extended family living in Nazareth: He’s out of his mind, he’s crazy. These words of his relatives must have been very painful! Jesus plays down these harsh words and rises to a higher plane, not the natural level of the old human condition but to the new, that of the new man who does not rebel against God, but fulfills his will. "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother" (Mark 3:35).

Paul, a new man, at the service of redemption. Paul is very conscious of being a new creature and an apostle of Jesus Christ to reveal the mystery of God´s love to the Gentiles. It is this awareness and conviction which has made him a tireless apostle at the service of the Gospel, of salvation in Christ. For this cause, he tirelessly preaches the Gospel received from God; he doesn’t falter even when he sees his human strength weakening with the passing of the years. At the end of his journey, he hopes to arrive to "a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven" (2 Corinthians 5:1), with a wealth of eternal glory. The lifestyle and aspirations of Paul are the same for every true apostle of Christ at the service of his Kingdom throughout history.

PASTORAL APPLICATIONS
The utopia of the superman. The great challenge for man, at all times, was and is to overcome his limits, to go beyond his creaturely condition, in other words to be a "little god" for himself and for others. Scripture warns us that this is a utopia, a temptation. People of our time are easily swayed by this utopian temptation. They have broken the boundaries between good and evil and have made themselves "moral legislators," ignoring God. They struggle to conquer the frontier of time and to achieve something like a temporal immortality – and so eat of the fruit of the tree of life within God’s paradise. History teaches that when we do without God, human achievements turn against man himself. The moral legislator becomes a criminal against humanity, a selfish libertine, a professional liar, a slave to some ideology. The utopian seeking immortality in this world ends up not knowing what to do with the disabled, the elderly and the terminally ill; he dooms them to death so that others may live. As a result, mankind is dehumanized. Do we want this for our children?

Happy are they who fulfill God’s will! A Christian, a new man, is someone who maintains a healthy balance between dependence on God and human freedom. Dependence on God is not slavery, because God wants us free, and only if we are free can we live dependence as God desires. Human freedom is not licentiousness, because it is the freedom to be fully human, not to lower their humanity or to aspire to a superior condition like God´s. Man: Be a man! Christian: Be a Christian! God is not a rival or enemy of man, but his father and benefactor. Dependence on God is dependence on a loving father who wants the best for his children. A free man is not God’s enemy, because it is God who has given him the gift of freedom so that he might make correct and just use of it. Man is free when he is freed from every interior or external conditioning that prevents him from exercising his free will in perfect accord with what God wants. This kind of man is the truly new man, one who follows in the footsteps of Christ, who came not to do his will, but that of his Father in heaven. The new man, truly free, is at the same time a happy man. Blessed, happy, are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice! 

 

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