The 10TH Sunday in Ordinary Time – 6 June 2021
Lectionary Readings: Gen. 3:9-15; Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; 2 Cor 4:13 – 5:1; Mark. 3:20-35
Theme: A House That Is Divided
The first reading is a familiar story to us because it is associated with “The Fall.” The story begins with God looking for and calling out to the man, who was in hiding because he said he was afraid. This was followed by a series of queries and interrogation and the conversation that ensued between the man, the woman, and serpent and each simply looked to the other and passed the blame, each of them becoming the victim of the events. Neither the man nor the woman admitted to being responsible for their actions and decisions. Instead of growing in oneness, one of the first recorded conversations between God with the man and the woman is ironically division rather than connection.
Amid these conditions of disconnection, brought about by human sinfulness, Psalm 130 acknowledges the need for redemption, as well as affirms the hesed, steadfast love, of God; that God will redeem and therein lies the hope for all of us. Similarly, the second reading also expresses hope in God, “the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead” (v. 14).
In the readings from Genesis to the Gospel, a common theme of division seems to emerge. The divisions are particularly about wedges in relationships. In Genesis, the wedge was between God, the man, the woman, and her offspring and the serpent. In the Gospel, the division is between Jesus, his family [or associates], and the scribes from Jerusalem.
The experiences of divisions are not foreign to us in our current context. All around us, we hear about how these have caused uprisings, protests, violence, and chaos in communities, countries, and the world that we live in. We hear about recent events in the news that are absolutely heart-breaking. There are repercussions of these for social justice advocacy. Whose side is one advocating for? Who is the aggressor and who is the oppressed?
All of these are within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the experience of physical distancing that we had to do: although necessary, there is a toll on our psyche in thinking of the other person as a potential threat to one’s health. In this current situation, we are invited to contemplate the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
For us to encourage oneness rather than division, we need to carefully discern the things that are of God. According to Bergant, “It is only in the power of God that we can stand secure. We are told to take heart in this matter and to fix our gaze on the things of God.” [Bergant, 272]
I wish to give tribute to an Oblate Missionary who recently died, Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, Jr. OMI, in our home Island, Mindanao (Philippines), who dedicated his life to peacebuilding and dialogue with the Muslims. His grave marker read, “Friend of the Muslims.”
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. How have you overcome divisions in your life? 2. What are the ways we could contribute to bridging the different gaps that exist in our world?
Bibliography: Bergant, D. Preaching the New Lectionary (Collegeville, MN: 1999).
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by Sr. Petite Lao, RNDM, Philippines/Canada, Bat Kol Alumna 2010, 2014, 2019 Sr. Weeyaa Villanueva, RNDM, Mindanao Philippines, Bat Kol Alumna 2010