Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Heb 9:15,24-28; Ps 98:1-6; Mk 3:22-30:  Indeed the LORD has done wondrous deeds!  His right hand has won victory for him!  The LORD has made his salvation known, and in the sight of all the nations the LORD has revealed his justice.  From the beginning of the world the LORD has revealed to all the nations his preferential love for his holy people.  This saving love summons forth a new song of praise for the wonderful love reaching out to all the nations from his holy people.  The house of Israel first received the promise and responded to the LORD. Now, the New Israel summons all the nations to come and see the faithfulness of God toward the house of Israel. All the nations are welcome to join in the song.  All the people of God cannot not welcome the new harps, the new melodious songs, the new sound of trumpets and the new blast of the horn to announce the arrival of the King, the LORD of Heaven and Earth.  Upon the heights of Zion stands the signal for all nations to see, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  All who eagerly await salvation are welcome to become a part of the New Israel and rejoice with all God’s holy ones.  Even though his power frightens them, they cannot hold him back.  Even today Christ heals the helpless and casts out demons from the oppressed.  We join in all the songs of praise and gratitude form every language, culture, and tongue to praise the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

 Who are those who eagerly await him?  Who are those on the edge of their seats who look forward to the coming of the Lord? At every mass the priest prays after the Our Father: “we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”  If we wait in joyful hope are we not eagerly awaiting him?  Who is the One for whom we await?  As the Letter to the Hebrews proclaims, he is Christ the mediator of a new covenant.  In the first covenant someone, or something, had to die to deliver the believer from transgressions.  The Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, did not enter into the sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one.  No, he entered into heaven with the sacrifice of his own blood, the blood too precious to be accounted for.  He appeared in the heavenly sanctuary at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world, from beginning to end.  This is the great paschal mystery which we celebrate in every mass until the Lord comes. When he comes a second time, he will come not to take away sin, but he will come to bring salvation to all who eagerly await him.  He has already taken away our sins, now he comes to fulfill our deepest desire to be united to the bridegroom of our souls.

At this point in history one would not expect anyone to believe the accusations of the scribes from Jerusalem.  From the very city that King David had conquered, the very city where he set up his capital, from this center of power the scribes came to make a judgment on the Son of David, Jesus the Christ.  Even though they had just concluded, “He is possessed by Beelzebul” and that’s how he casts out demons.  Even though they had publicly accused the Lord Jesus he summoned them and spoke to them in parables.  He did not rant and rave or get upset and defensive.  He told them stories.  In this story it becomes clear that no self-respecting demon would cast out demons. Beelzebul would not split his own kingdom in two.  Such division would be self-destructive.  The Lord Jesus does not have to become defensive because he knows the truth and he is free.  He knows that the Father will forgive those who accuse him unjustly of trying to lead the people astray.  He has come to reveal that boundless mercy in his dying and rising.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, all the sins of the whole world.  However, the Lord Jesus also reveals the limits of God’s mercy.  God cannot forgive someone who does not want to be forgiven.  This is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  This is the everlasting sin.  The refusal to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into our hearts and breath into the darkest corner of sin and death, within us, the new life of Christ, this is the sin unpardonable.  Simply, we do not want to be pardoned.  Simply, we do not have the humility to receive what we do not deserve, the unconditional love and forgiveness of the One who first loved us.  The LORD loves us in just this way and he cannot love us more and he will not love us less.  The LORD loves us without hesitation and without regret.  This is the love that rescues, heals and saves us forever.