One Minute Reflection – 29 January – Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 3:22-30 and The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”...Mark 3:22
REFLECTION – “It is characteristic of evildoers, stirred by envy, to shut their eyes as much as they can, to other people’s merits and when, overcome by the evidence, they cannot do so any longer, to depreciate or undervalue it. Thus, when the crowd rejoiced in devotion and marvelled at the sight of Christ’s works, the scribes and Pharisees either closed their eyes to what they knew to be true, or minimised what is great, or undervalued what is good. Once, for example, feigning ignorance, they said to Him who had worked so many wonderful signs: “What sign can you do that we may believe in you?” (Jn 6:30). In this case, unable to blatantly deny the facts, they wickedly depreciate them… and they devalue them by saying: “It is by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.”
Now this, dear brethren, is the blasphemy against the Spirit that binds all those he has seized with the bonds of an eternal sin. This is not to say that it would be impossible for the repentant to gain forgiveness for it all if they “produce fruit as evidence of their repentance” (Lk 3:8). The only thing is that, crushed beneath such a weight of malice, they lack the strength to aspire to that praiseworthy repentance worthy of forgiveness… Those who, perceiving the proofs of grace and the Holy Spirit at work in a brother…, are not afraid to undermine and calumniate and brashly ascribe to the evil spirit what they clearly know to be of the Holy Spirit, such as these have been so forsaken by this Spirit of grace, that they no longer even desire the repentance that would obtain pardon. They are completely in the dark, blinded by their own malice. Indeed, what could be more serious than to dare, out of envy for a brother one had been commanded to love as oneself (Mt 19:19), to blaspheme God’s goodness… and insult his majesty by wanting to discredit another?”...Isaac of Stella (c 1100-c.1171) O.Cist. Cistercian monk
PRAYER – Lord, our God, keep us free from envy of others, for this is a poison that can destroy all community and love. Help us to know that to each You have given gifts and all are Your wonder and made to honour You alone. Help us to appreciate our neighbour’s talents and understand that we are all one in the Mystical Body of Your Son. And since it was by Your gift that St Thomas became so great a saint and theologian, give us grace to understand his teaching and follow his way of life. May his great love for Jesus Crucified and his pure adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, be our guide to follow in Your Son’s footsteps and take up our cross and follow Him. Grant that by the prayers of St Thomas, we may grow in love and sanctity. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.