Wednesday, June 15, 2005
It's Mark and Matthew who give the context in which Jesus made this statement. The Pharisees had just claimed that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul, that he drove out demons by the power of the prince of demons.
The Pharisees had looked at Jesus working miracles and driving demons out of people possessed. What they saw was Jesus possessed by Beelzebul, driving demons out of people possessed by the power of the prince of demons. They looked at Jesus and saw Satan; they witnessed the obviously God-sanctioned works of Jesus and saw Satan at work. They blinded themselves to the goodness and truth in Jesus.
Because they so blinded themselves, they could no longer discern between evil and sin when confronted by them. Since they could no longer see sin as sin, they no longer saw the need for repentance. They were mired permanently in their sin. They had made themselves impermeable by the grace of the Spirit.
We also face this danger. Sin must be recognized as sin, evil as evil, truth and goodness as truth and goodness. If I get in the habit of not seeing sin where there is sin, I will lose my ability to discern good and evil. Though culpable, I will be incapable of repentance. I will have blinded myself.
In yesterday's gospel Jesus warned the disciples to avoid the "leaven of the Pharisees." He told them that by leaven he meant the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Honesty, absolute honesty is needed, the freedom to recognize myself as a sinner in need of repentance and reconciliation. If I am honest, I open myself to the Holy Spirit. He will move me to sorrow for my sin and to reconciliation with Jesus and the Father.