Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.
Yikes. This is serious stuff in Saint Mark’s Gospel today. It’s the kind of thing that can (and should) shake us up a little. When I read this, I had to ask myself, what exactly does it mean to “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit”? Jesus brings this up because the scribes have done exactly that when they say Jesus is casting out demons by the power of demons. When we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, we attribute the grace and power of God to someone or something else other than Him, and we fail to repent of our sin. That last part is important, as we know no sin can separate us from God’s mercy when we seek reconciliation with a sincere heart. As Christians we are called to give the glory to God, and Him alone.
“Tell of his salvation,” “Declare his glory,” “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name!” The Psalmist calls us to speak boldly and to spread the Lord’s truth. Likewise, in his letter to Timothy, Saint Paul also encourages us to share our faith. Regardless of whether we come from a faithful line of women (like Timothy’s mother and grandmother who are mentioned), we are called to be faithful women for one another, and boldly.
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity . . . .” Yet another thing I need to remember. When we are timid, shy, quiet, or embarrassed to share our faith in this secular world, we have to remember that this inclination is not from God. As the first month of this new year comes to an end, I invite you to join me in examining how we’re doing in terms of testifying to God’s work in our own lives. Sometimes we may need to be bold and speak up when we hear or see something that is not in line with God’s teaching. Perhaps more importantly, we can testify to God’s goodness by the way we live our lives and the way we love one another.
Let us pray that each of us might rekindle the gift of God that is within us. May we be a light for God’s kingdom with a spirit of power and love and self-control.
May we sing to the Lord a new song in this new year.
Elise Howe is a devoted wife and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.