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The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind." And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons." And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast 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, but his end has come. 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.
"Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" -- for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."
A few fun facts about the human body....
You use 200 muscles to take one step.
A pair of human feet contains 250,000 sweat glands.
A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball.
The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.
Men without hair on their chests are more likely to get cirrhosis of the liver than men with hair.
Finally... Your thumb is the same length as your nose.... And just so you won’t spend the rest of the sermon wondering if that is true you may now go ahead and check....
From the book of Genesis... Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.... the human body is indeed a masterpiece of the highest order.... This week I was even looking into how the cells in our body work.
Each cell in our bodies serves a very specific purpose.. and each serves the greater good... Each cell is programmed so that when it is old or no longer needed it dies. The cells are able to reproduce based on the DNA that is found in each of them.. and even more fascinating is that the cells are smart enough to generate the tissue needed to create and maintain specific parts of the body... You don’t have a muscle cell in your leg suddenly deciding, “Hey, I think I’ll form a lung down here.”... Although it has been proven that certain cells in the brain of a teenager can occasionally be transformed into rocks.
Now.. as the DNA helps these cells to reproduce, errors do happen - actually they happen quite frequently and in many cases there is this wonderfully smart gene - that coding material in the DNA - called P53. From my understanding this gene is not only smart, but a genius type gene. If there is an error in the DNA coding and the newly created cell is not as it should be, then the P53 comes in and slows the growth of the cell so that the DNA can be corrected or the P53 tells the cell to self destruct.... essentially the are safeguards that keep things like your nose from becoming longer than your thumb.
Anyone care to wage a guess as to what happens if these safeguards fail?... Cancer. All cancer cells essentially begin the same way.. it is an error in the DNA coding that allows the mutant cell to over ride the safeguards. The P53 can’t slow the cells progress to allow the cell to repair itself... the cell refuses the command to self destruct... It just grows.. it reproduces... it does not care which organ is which as long as it can continue to multiply.... The initial system of a cancer tumor is essentially weak.. they grow to such an extent that they can’t supply enough nutrients to keep themselves alive, so they develop their own blood supply system by developing veins that were never there in the first place....
What causes the DNA in a cell to go wrong and form a cancerous cell?... It seems anymore the question is “What doesn’t cause..?” but it seems for the most part the contributing factors are outside sources of which we have all heard.. smoking.. too much sun.. certain forms of radiation.. on and on the list will go and continue to grow, but whatever the case, these outside forces cause the DNA to be altered within a single cell and from there the malignancy begins.
Now there are many forms of cancer and many of them can be treated and the survivors can go on to lead very good lives, but if unchecked, untreated.. the cancer will grow and eventually kill the person... The human body is indeed a masterpiece, but in this case, the masterpiece turns against itself.. and the end result can be death.
Jesus said, “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.”
I don’t know if all dogs are like this.. but if you take some of them out into a field with cows, the dog will inevitably find the freshest pile of cow poo and take a nice long roll in it... they come out smelling like.. well.. poo. The first thing you do when you get them home is to give them a bath and wash it away.
When we sin, it is through the blood of Jesus that we can be cleansed of the eternal effects of those sins... we can wash the poo right off, but there are other sins in our life that aren’t like washing off poo.. they are more like cancer and they come on in a very similar way.. one little bit at a time.. and they are just as difficult to get rid of.... ask someone who has an addiction... smoking.. drugs.. pornography.... That first puff, hit, or image.. was like the first cell going bad... Yet, there were still safeguards in place to correct the problem... primarily the Spirit of God saying, “This is not good... this is not right... this is against the things of God”.... Yet there is also this thing called free will - it is your choice.
You can be obedient and heed the Spirit.. or you can choose to ignore... and just as a cancerous cell divides and then divides again.. so will the sin until it becomes a part of you... We can make the mistake and think that we can control the sin and quit whenever we want, but remember that line from the movie, “If you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change.. the devil changes you.”.. Paul says that before Christ we were slaves to sin.. and we may think we can overcome the master who controls us, but we can’t... and so our house... this temple of God... can become divided against it self... you end up with these two warring parties within you.
As much as anyone of us might believe it... we are not alone in this struggle... St. Augustine writes in his Confessions, “So did my two wills, one new, the other old, one spiritual, the other carnal, fight within me and by their discord undo my soul.”... How often have you heard the words of St. Paul, “When I want to do good, I find that evil is right there with me.”
Now you may think I’m about to give you some sage advice on how to bring this war within you to and end.. and believe it or not.. I do have a very simple solution -- Die. When you die the battle is over and one side or the other has won, unless.. unless sometime before you die you simply quit fighting.... Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.".. This is not a full or perfect understanding of this most grievous of sins.. the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, but it is close... essentially it says, I recognize the good path that God has set me on, but I willingly choose not to follow it.. or.. the battle.. the war within me is too difficult.. I have failed so many times.. that I quit. You see, there is a vast difference between failure and quitting... Failure means you get to try again.. quitting means you’ve decided not to try any more.
Like Augustine and Paul and every other person that has ever tried to follow Christ -- you will fail, but you must try again.... you will be forgiven every sin and blaspheme.. except quitting.
There is story of a magnificently handsome young man sitting in a congregation. After service the young man stayed for confession. He confessed so many terrible sins that the priest was horrified. The priest says, “You must have lived long to have done all that.”... the young man replied, “My name is Lucifer and I fell from heaven at the beginning of time.”... “Even so,” said the priest, “say that you are sorry, say that you repent and even you can be forgiven.”... Legend has it that the young man looked at the priest for a moment and then turned and walked away.... He could not ask for forgiveness.. he refused to try again to follow the ways of God.. and left that place damned.
St. Josemaria writes, “You tell me that in your heart you have fire and water, cold and heat, empty passions and God: one candle lit to St. Michael and another to the devil [you are trying to be on good terms with both].... Calm yourself. As long as you are willing to fight there are not two candles burning in your heart. There is only one: the archangel’s.”
There are three solutions to the battle against this cancer of sin.. die.. quit.. or fight... You are going to die, but in the meantime.. I pray that you choose to fight, but be prepared.. it is a life long battle, and you must be willing to overcome a multitude of failures.. Yet always remember.. throughout the battle - even on the darkest days - you can trust in God.. Why?.. “He does not lose battles.”
Let us pray... “Holy Michael Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”