PROPER 5 (10) – Year B

3rd Sunday after Pentecost — June 9, 2024

Gospel Lectionary Text

Mark 3:20-35

3:20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.

3:21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind."

3:22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons."

3:23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?

3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

3:25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

3:26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.

3:27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

3:28 "Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter;

3:29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"--

3:30 for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

3:31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him.

3:32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you."

3:33 And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"

3:34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!

3:35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."


Welcome to the third week after Pentecost, where we witness the height of spiritual irony. Jesus is accused of being a demon who casts out other demons, by the very people who are trapped inside the demonic cycle themselves.

Jesus responds with a question, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” His question exposes the irony of the accusation and functions like a mirror that reveals the spirit of his accusers. The demonic dynamic that Jesus unveils is the impulse to accuse and cast out the other in the name of righteousness. This is the spirit that rules sacrificial religion and drives the scapegoat mechanism. It’s this impulse that will, by the end of Mark’s gospel, have Jesus murdered.

Herein lies the great irony — the way of mercy that Jesus models is seen as a dark and dangerous force that must be eliminated by those who are driven by this dynamic. But expelling mercy from the system, which is the only thing that can heal it, is like blaspheming the Spirit.


How can recognizing the dynamics of accusation and expulsion within our own communities help us embody a more Christ-like spirit?


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

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