First Reading: Genesis 3:9-15
9After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the Lord God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
12The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
13The Lord God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”
14Then the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life.
15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
NOTES on First Reading:
* [3:15] He will strike…at his heel: since the antecedent for he and his is the collective noun offspring, i.e., all the descendants of the woman, a more exact rendering of the sacred writers words would be, “they will strike…at their heels.” However later theology saw in this passage more than unending hostility between snakes and men. The serpent was regarded as the devil (Wis2:24; Jn 8:44; Rv 12:9; 20:22), whose eventual defeat seems implied in the contrast between head and heel. Because “the son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil”, the passage can be understood as the first promise of the Redeemer for fallen mankind. The woman’s offspring then is primarily Jesus Christ.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Brothers and sisters:
13Since we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke,
we too believe and therefore we speak,
14knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
15Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
16Therefore, we are not discouraged;
rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
17For this momentary light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison,
18as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
5:1For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
should be destroyed,
we have a building from God,
a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.
NOTES on Second Reading:
* 4:12-15: His experience does not terminate in himself but in others (12.15 cf 1,4-5). Ultimately, everything is ordered
even beyond the community, toward God (15; cf 1,11).
* 4:13–14: Like the psalmist, Paul clearly proclaims his faith, affirming life within himself despite death (10-11) and the life-giving effect of his experience upon the church (12,14-15). and place as with you in his presence: Paul imagines God presenting him and them to Jesus at the Perugia and the judgment; cf 11:2; Rom 14:10.
* 4:16–18: In a series of contrasts Paul explains the extent of his face in life. Life is not only already present in revealing itself (8-11,16) but will outlast his experience of affliction and dying: it is eternal (17-18).
* 4:16: not discouraged: that is, despite the experience of death, Paul is still speaking of himself personally, but he assumes his face and attitude will be shared by all Christians. Our outer self: the individual subject of ordinary perception and observation, in contrast to the interior and hidden self, which undergoes renewal. is being renewed day by day: this suggests a process that has already begun; cf 3,18.. The renewal already taking place even in Paul’s dying is a share in the life of Jesus, but this is recognized only by faith (13:18;5-7).
* 5:1: our earthly dwelling: the same contrast is restated in the imagery of a dwelling. The language recalls Jesus saying about the destruction of the temple and the construction of another building not made with hands (Mk 14:58), a prediction later applied to Jesus own body (Jn 2:20).
Gospel Reading: Mark 3:20-35
20Jesus came home with his disciples.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
21When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
22The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,”
and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”
23Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
24If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
25And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
26And if Satan has risen up against himself
and is divided, he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
27But 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 the house.
28Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be
29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
30For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31His mother and his brothers arrived.
Standing outside they sent word to him and called him.
32A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
33But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
34And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
35For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
NOTES on Gospel:
* [4:26-29] 3:20–35: Within the narrative of the coming of Jesus real relatives (20–21) is inserted the account of the unbelieving scribes from Jerusalem who attributed Jesus power over demons to be Beelzebul (22–30); see the note on 5:21–43. There were even those even among the relatives of Jesus who disbelieved and regarded Jesus as out of his mind (21). Against this background, Jesus is informed of the arrival of his mother and brothers [and sisters] (32). He responds by showing that not a family ties but doing God’s will (35) is decisive in the kingdom; cf the note on Mt 12:46–50.
* 3:20: He came home: cf 2:1-2 and see the note on 2:15
* 3:22: by Beelzebul: see the note on Mt 10:25. Two accusations are leveled against Jesus: (1) that he is possessed by an unclean spirit, and (2) by the prince of demons he drives out demons. Jesus answers the second charge by a parable (24–27) and responds to the first charge in vv 28-29.
* 3:29: whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit: this sin is called an everlasting sin because it attributes to Satan, who is the power of evil, what is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, namely, victory over demons.
* 3:32: your brothers: see the note on 6:3.