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Dear brothers and sisters,
Back in Ordinary Time, the Gospel gets us started with Jesus’ homecoming. From the allegations hurled at Him, we discover a stunning revelation of Himself and His mission. Apparently, He is the one foretold in the First Reading (Gen. 3:9–15) who would crush Satan and his minions, debunking the claim that He is “possessed.” The suspicion that He is “out of his mind” is far from the truth, yet reasonable, in the sense that His mind is really not on Himself but on God who sent Him. His centerpiece is obedience, of which Mary is the perfect model to imitate, defining what discipleship is.
In Her message, Our Lady invites us to enter into Her Immaculate Heart in order to learn to follow Her in saying our “yes” to the Will of God, We will read Message 185, “In the Temple of My Heart,” taken from the book “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (Mark 3:20-35)
Jesus came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, Jesus began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. 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 his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, for he is guilty of an everlasting sin.” He said this because they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Jesus’ mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent word to him. A crowd seated told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Points for Reflection
Back home with His disciples, “the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat.” His relatives want to take Him away because of the suspicion that He is “out of His mind.” Though far from it, the remark is reasonable in the sense that His mind is really not on Himself, but on God who sent Him to conquer Satan as foretold (Gen. 3:9–15). No less than God told the demonic serpent: “He will crush your head” (Gen. 3:15). True, casting out demons is remarkably part of His mission, debunking the accusation of the Scribes. Done in God’s power, He declared: “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.” This does not mean that there are limits to God’s mercy (CCC 1864). Rather, the unforgivable blasphemy is linked to non-repentance, to the obstinate refusal to be converted and accept salvation in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Given this mission, the life of Jesus is centered on doing the will of God, a focus that people of His time are not aware of. Doing the Father’s will had been Jesus’ “food” all along without uncertainties or regrets. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work” (Jn. 4:34). For His obedience, the voice from the clouds declared twice - in Jordan River and in Mt. Tabor - “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
This total and unconditional obedience to the Father defines discipleship. To teach them the primacy of the will of God, Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “thy will be done.” Obedience leaves no room for yielding to the devil’s temptation, as Adam and Eve unfortunately did. Likewise, doing the Will of God brings unity of spirit that enables the disciples to stand strong in the things of God. A household that is spiritually divided will struggle to stand in the face of temptation and attack. With obedience, the house will never be plundered.
Taking advantage of His Mother’s presence, Jesus commends Her to His disciples as the model to imitate. “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Her “fiat” was Her unconditional “yes” to God’s Will, which She never withdrew through all the difficulties she experienced and, most of all, when the “sword of sorrow” pierced Her heart as She saw her own Son’s heart pierced on the Cross. She was with Him to the very end and finally would share his joy in the Resurrection.
Discipleship transcends human ties. What binds them - Mother and Son - is the Will of God, which they both lived throughout their lives. May we be able to say the same.
November 21, 1979
Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Points for Reflection
Our Lady’s presentation recalls the time when, at the age of three, She was offered to God in the Temple by Her parents Joaquim and Anna. Though with no historical basis and found only in the “Protoevangelium of James,” an apocryphal writing, Her presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of Her Immaculate Conception, emphasizing that the holiness conferred on Her from the beginning of Her life on earth continued through Her early childhood and beyond.
In her message, Our Lady said: “Although, from the very moment of my conception, I was already prepared for the sublime mission, which had been entrusted to me, yet even for me a time of silence and more intense prayer was necessary” (185 b). Thus, in the Temple:
Like Her, we also need a time of silent recollection and fervent prayer to prepare us to carry out the Will of God in our life. Thus, She invites to enter into the Temple of Her Immaculate Heart, in which:
Dedicated to God with the singular grace of immaculate Conception, She is far greater than any temple. God came to dwell in Her in a marvelous manner and sanctified Her. Her magnificence enriches us. “For this, you must enter into the temple of my Heart. You have need of silence and of prayer, of detachment and of renunciation. Thus the design that God has on you will be revealed to you, and you will be free and ready to accomplish it to the end. Only in this way can the great mission, which I have entrusted to you be accomplished by you” (185 n-o).
God bless you all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.
Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur: Bishop Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Archbishop Francesco Cuccarese, 2007