Jesus warns in today's Gospel passage that " ... whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness. He remains guilty forever." Is he talking about a sin that you or I could commit? Are we in danger of going to hell because of an unforgivable sin?
Breathe a deep sigh of relief; the answer is no. No, because (a) you care enough about your spiritual health to read this, and (b) this scripture is about the sin of demons. Here's why:
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and to blaspheme the Holy Spirit means to fully know the truth yet deliberately, consciously, freely choose to sin against it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1864) says that anyone who deliberately refuses to repent of sin rejects the forgiveness of sin and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. "Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss."
We sin out of ignorance, i.e., we don't fully understand the truth we're rejecting. What human has sufficient understanding and brain power to fully comprehend the truth? What human would refuse to repent after becoming truly aware of the truth about God's love and the evil of sin?
Ignorance is no excuse for staying in sin, however, because we are given daily opportunities to gain new understanding, and slowness to repent after learning the truth is very damaging. We can choose to be purged of our sinful tendencies now and enter more fully into the kingdom of God on earth, or we will belatedly but gladly choose purgatory at the moment of death when, as Saint Paul said, we shall finally know the truth fully (see 1 Cor. 13:12).
I don't mean to imply that no one goes to hell, because there are people who freely choose to prefer evil, but think about the Church's definition of sin: "To choose deliberately -- that is, both knowing it and willing it -- something gravely contrary to the divine law is to commit a mortal sin" (Catechism paragraph 1874).
Angels were created with a full understanding of the truth. Some of them made the permanent decision to live apart from God, fully aware of what they were giving up, in order to become their own gods. These are the fallen angels. Because they chose deliberately, knowingly and willingly, they will never convert into good angels.
Jesus mentions their everlasting sin in response to the accusation that he was "possessed" by an unclean spirit (Beelzebul). The accusation was absurd, not just because Jesus was God, but because he was -- as a man -- fully confident in the truth of God, unlike the rest of us humans whose understanding of the truth has been skewed by low self-esteem, inaccurate teachings, insufficient training as a child, and other handicaps in our knowledge.
I suspect that when people accused Jesus of working for Satan, he found its absurdity humorous. When we're falsely accused, we should handle it with the same good humor. I've been accused of being a witch: a spell-casting, nature-worshipping, goddess-invoking witch. The reason for the accusation? I was leading people away from the occult through my book Overcoming the Power of the Occult (see gnm.org/book-overcomingtheoccult) and somebody didn't like that. The accusation was so ridiculous it was laughable.
Can you see the ridiculousness of the false accusations made against you? If it's not ridiculous, it's time to go to the Sacrament of Confession. But if it is ridiculous, laugh and get on with life. Read more about this in our WordByte: "Have you been falsely accused?"