Pope Francis spoke June 10, 2018, of the strength and clarity Jesus used in standing up to two types of misunderstanding, which sprung from the scribes and the Savior’s own family members.
The Holy Father’s comments came before praying the noonday Angelus with an estimated crowd of 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
“To bad-mouth others, to destroy the reputation of others, makes us the devil’s family,” proclaimed the Pope.” But Jesus faced much bad-mouthing.
“The first misunderstanding: the scribes were men instructed in the Holy Scriptures and in charge of explaining it to the people,” the Pope said. “Some of them were sent from Jerusalem to Galilee, where Jesus’ fame was beginning to spread, to discredit Him in the eyes of the people, to engage in the office of gossipers, discredit the other, take away His authority — such an awful thing.”
The Holy Father explained that they tried to discredit Jesus by claiming his ability was from the Beelzebul – that he was possessed and that was why he could cast out demons. They didn’t want the people to believe that Jesus could heal the sick, so they claimed it was demonic power at work.
“Jesus reacts with strong and clear words; He doesn’t tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realizing it, were falling into the gravest sin: to deny and blaspheme the Love of God, which is present and works in Jesus,” the Pope said. “And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the only unforgivable sin — so says Jesus –, because it stems from the closure of the heart to God’s mercy, which acts in Jesus.”
But which the scribes misunderstanding may have revealed their envy, Jesus faced another misunderstanding from his family members. They feared he suffered from madness.
“Today’s Gospel speaks to us also of another misunderstanding, very different, in Jesus’ relations: that of His relatives,” Francis explained. “They were concerned because His new itinerant life seemed madness to them (Cf. v. 21).
“In fact, He showed Himself so available to people, especially the sick and sinners, to the point of not even having time to eat. Jesus was like that: first, the people, serve the people, help the people, teach the people and cure the people.”
The Pope recalled how Jesus, in the Gospel, told the people that everyone who follows God’s will is his brothers and sisters. The Holy Father concludes by reminding those listening that this doesn’t diminish Christ’s earthly family, but allows all who accept his word to become part of the family.