St. Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
II Samuel 5:1-7,10 + Mark 3:22-30
January 24, 2022
“And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
Jesus’ parables most often describe the Kingdom of God. But today He preaches about the Kingdom by what in theology is called a “via negativa”: that is, describing someone or something by what he, she or it is not, rather than what he, she or it is. Jesus today describes what the Kingdom of God is not in rebutting the claims of the scribes.
The chief point of the parables we hear Jesus preach today is that Satan can have no place in the Kingdom of God. He begins by debunking the scribes’ claim with simple logic. But Jesus moves by the end of today’s passage to a “via positiva”, in which He points out why Satan can have no place within the Kingdom: because the Kingdom is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, the new creation in which the Holy Spirit hovers over the face of the Kingdom [see Genesis 1:2].
Still, in our own day we have to put Jesus’ parables in context. We cannot help but realize that the Kingdom of God which Jesus so often preaches about is not strictly identical with the Church that Jesus founded when He walked this earth. Would that it were so! How clearly we can see the sins of members of the Church. Through these sins, the absence of the Holy Spirit makes itself known. Our sins can be forgiven, and our charity can point to the Kingdom of God, but both are possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit.