Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

09 June 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan NewsMessages and Homilies

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Sacrament of Confirmation


[Genesis 3: 8-15; Psalm 130; 2Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1; Mark 3: 20-35]

Fans of the Edmonton Oilers are more than a little excited these days. Rightly so. We have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in more than thirty years! Yet, together with the excitement is a good measure of trepidation. We won’t know who the victor will be until the series is over. Furthermore, the opposing team is strong; commentators are even giving them the edge. As a result, worry and fear get mixed in with the excitement and hope.

Let’s think of this as we receive the Word of God today. It is all about a contest, a struggle for victory, one far more consequential than a Stanley Cup final. The scriptural texts speak to us about the battle between God and Satan, good and evil, life and death. Yet, unlike the hockey series, we know who the victor is because the victory is already won! This is important to keep in mind, because it can seem like the evil one has the edge at times, especially when we look at the state of our world, or at our own personal struggles to remain faithful to our baptismal dignity.

The battle with Satan began at the very beginning of history. The first reading from Genesis recalls Adam and Eve meeting God just after they had sinned by surrendering to the temptation, of Satan, portrayed as a serpent, and ate the forbidden fruit. Notice carefully God’s response. Speaking directly to the serpent, God says this: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” This is among the most important passages in the entire Old Testament. God is promising to destroy the devil by the offspring of a woman, a promise fulfilled in Jesus born of Mary. This is why the Church has always seen that particular passage as the first proclamation of the Gospel (Protoevangelium – cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 410).

In this light we can understand why Jesus, when he did come to us, always found himself under attack by forces unleashed by the devil. An example is given in today’s Gospel passage, which recounts a confrontation between Jesus and the scribes, who seek to discredit him, and who ultimately will conspire to put him to death. Jesus is taking our struggle with evil onto himself so that he could win it for us.

And he did! By taking to himself the consequences of our sin, even death, and then rising from the dead, Jesus destroyed forever the power of the evil one. Sin and death can have no power over those who believe in Jesus Christ. And this victory is not for this life only. As St. Paul puts it, God who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us with him into eternal life.

So, let’s never doubt who the winner is, even when people around us question our faith because of the “edge” sin and suffering seem to have in our world. Jesus is always victorious. All he asks is that we believe in him, follow him, and – again we hear this in the Gospel – do the will of God and thus live as members of his family.

This leads us to understand the role and importance of Confirmation. In this sacrament, recipients receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for a twofold purpose:

First, the Spirit is given to strengthen them to turn away from Satan and stay faithful to Jesus. Our Confirmation candidates will pledge to do exactly that when they renew their baptismal promises to renounce Satan and believe in God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Second, the Spirit is given to empower those who receive Him to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which means to remind the world who the Victor is in the struggle against evil. Particularly now, our world is in need of real hope. That hope arises in our hearts when we realize that evil is ultimately a spent force, that it has no power over Jesus, and that we can participate in his victory by placing our faith in him.

Like other fans, I hope the Oilers win the Cup, but I have to wait to see what happens. Like other Christians, I already know who has won the more important victory that yields the trophy of eternal life. That is Jesus, the Eternal Son of God who came from heaven to win the victory for us. In the power of the Holy Spirit, let us all – together with those who are about to be confirmed – renew our efforts to make him known.

Most Reverend Richard W. Smith

Our Lady of Peace Parish, Innisfail

St. Anne of the Prairies Parish, Trochu

St. Stephen Parish, Olds